godzilla vs kong tv spot new

The clash of the titans is just around the corner, and a few people have managed to witness the carnage and live to tell the tale. Godzilla vs. Kong pits the biggest monsters on the planet against each other in an epic duel that is something of a cultural event by default. But here’s the question: is this a fight that demands ringside seats?

The first reactions to Godzilla vs. Kong have arrived online, giving us a better understanding of just how much you should be anticipating, or dreading, this new film. Read More »

Jakob's Wife Review

Does your modern indie horror movie really exist if it doesn’t feature Barbara Crampton or Larry Fessenden? The two horror icons, who have been so good in so many genre movies for so long, are busier than ever, popping up in (and often propping up) countless films made by filmmakers who clearly grew up watching them on well-worn VHS tapes.

But Jakob’s Wife, a gory new horror comedy about a marriage on the rocks before vampirism rears its ugly fangs, understands their appeal more than most. In fact, it knows what horror fans really want: to see them placed front-and-center as leading man and leading lady rather than relegated to supporting role or amusing cameo. And while there are other pleasures to be found in Jakob’s Wife (especially the geysers of blood that erupt with some regularity), these two, together in the spotlight, are the main draw.

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review

According to the makers of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the highly anticipated new Marvel series heading to Disney+, their television show isn’t a television show at all. It’s a six-hour movie. And it’s structured like one, too. And since I’m not here to dredge up the ongoing debate over whether or not this the right way to make serialized entertainment (we’ll talk about it in the weeks ahead, I suppose), I can only sit here and wonder what good can come from a review of the first episode, the only one provided to press ahead of the premiere. How do you review one-sixth of a six-hour movie? How can you make judgments about a story when you’re only halfway through the opening act?

The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does not play like a traditional pilot. When director Kari Skogland and showrunner Malcolm Spellman say this is a six-hour movie, they’re not kidding around. The pieces are put in place so the story can fully kick off in, well, episode two. This episode is more of a taste than a full-on mission statement for what this series will be.

Thankfully, it’s a pretty good taste.

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Made for Love Review

A bleak near-future where late capitalism and big tech have created a nightmarish new reality. An abused woman on the run from her powerful, wealthy, sociopathic partner. Cristin Milioti winning our hearts while enduring one insane event after another in the desert. The first episode of Made for Love invites comparisons to Black Mirror, The Invisible Man, and Palm Springs by default. That, in and of itself, is a compliment of sorts.

But the grander compliment is that Made for Love is very much its own thing, a blend of satiric science fiction, just-gnarly-enough horror, and riotous physical comedy that feels like a grand announcement. “Welcome to the TV show that’s going to be your weekly obsession for the next few months,” the episode practically declares. Fans of gonzo genre storytelling and the ever-on-the-rise Milioti (and aren’t we all her fans at this point?) should line up immediately.

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We live in the age of Peak True Crime. You can’t search for a podcast without stumbling over countless new shows about grisly murders. You can’t browse Netflix without skimming past that week’s latest miniseries about a serial killer you’ve never heard about. And let’s face it: we eat it up. We devour these unsettling stories of monsters and victims because they are fascinating, because they are primal, because they are real, because they hold consequence. Nothing grips like a cold, hard truth.

And yet, we’ve also reached the point where the beats of a true crime series are so familiar, their style and pacing so specific, that they can be effortlessly parodied in something like the late, great American Vandal. So, what’s a true crime series to do?

This year’s online SXSW Film Festival premiered two new true crime shows with very different priorities. Hulu’s Sasquatch feels like a bold new statement for the genre, an offbeat blend of investigative reporting and documentary filmmaking with a deep dive into the supernatural and the unexplainable. Simply put: it’s a true crime doc where the killer may be Bigfoot. Really. Meanwhile, Starz’s Confronting a Serial Killer doubles down on a back-to-the-basics approach, stripping away the bombast of so many modern series and putting its lens on what often gets lost in true crime stories: the victims.

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Falcon and the Winter Soldier Director Interview

Even if you don’t know her name, chances are strong you’ve seen the work of director Kari Skogland. Specifically, if you’ve been keeping up with high profile peak TV over the past decade, you’ve seen her output. Skogland has directed episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards, and so much more. Hell, she even directed an episode of The Punisher for Netflix, from an era when Marvel’s TV shows didn’t live on Disney+ and didn’t have such a direct connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her filmography is a tour of sleek and stylish water cooler television.

With that level of experience under her belt, Skogland seems like a natural fit for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel’s explosive buddy action series starring Captain America’s two best buds. In conversation, you can see why she landed the gig – she knows what makes these characters interesting and knows just where to put the camera to emphasize their specific sets of skills.

I spoke to Skogland over Zoom after watching the first episode of the new series, which leans just as heavily on character development and Marvel world-building as it does on explosive action. But first, I had to ask: how exactly does one land a Marvel gig?

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Falcon and the Winter Soldier Showrunner Interview

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier initially looks and sounds like another entry in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s got a lot on its mind. Yes, this is a buddy-action series starring Captain America’s BFFs. Yes, it features big action, charming actors, and enough Easter eggs to choke a comic book geek. Yes, it’s going to scratch the Marvel itch for MCU obsessives and casual viewers alike.

But showrunner Malcolm Spellman wants to make it clear: this is a show about the here and now. Avengers: Endgame concluded with Steve Rogers handing his shield, and the mantle of Captain America, to Sam Wilson. But what does that actually mean? Not just for Sam – a Black man being asked to wear and wield the stars and stripes – but for the rest of the world? Those kinds of questions power The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Spellman says those kinds of questions will continue to fuel the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“We wanted heroes that felt like they are of the times,” Spellman told me over Zoom as we discussed the first episode of the series. It was one hell of a conversation, as the series showrunner made it very clear that this show isn’t going to shy away from the tough questions and tough answers. “If you keep it fun and entertaining, you can also keep it honest and relevant,” he said, emphasizing that the success of Black Panther has given Marvel the confidence to take chances.

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The legacy of Marvel Comics maestro Stan Lee has been muddy for decades. Even as the supposed mastermind behind the early days of Spider-Man, Thor, and the Fantastic Four evolved into a beloved international icon with cameos in every Marvel film, controversy nipped at his heels. At the heart of it all: the constant rumblings that he didn’t actually co-create his most famous characters, and that he went out of his way to bury the talented artists who worked alongside him.

The new biography True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee explores Lee’s life in detail, unraveling mysteries, asking troubling questions, and coming to grips with the the fact that this icon’s life was full of contradictions, half-truths, and shifting narratives. Author Abraham Riesman isn’t just a biographer, but a detective, forced to dig deep and even rub elbows with a number of shady figures.

True Believer is a harrowing read for Marvel fans, but the stories within this book should prove fascinating to anyone with an interest in history and culture. Lee’s childhood as the son of immigrants in New York City is a window into a fascinating world. His years in the wilderness of Hollywood, where he strived and failed to make movies, is illuminating. And his final days, where Lee was surrounded by men and women who seemingly meant him only harm, are heartbreaking.

I recently spoke to Riesman about True Believer, which is available anywhere books are sold. Our conversation included what it is like to explore the Stan Lee archives, why so many fans and professionals alike are so quick to defend Lee at any cost, and what we are to make of one of the most important, and complex, legacies of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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spider-man 3 tobey maguire

Typically, we know the titles of upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies years in advance, letting Marvel Studios tease us and taunt with their increasingly intricate grand design. I love it. I also hate it. But the upcoming third Spider-Man movie, and the sixth MCU movie to feature Tom Holland‘s take on Peter Parker, began filming without a title. Blame the fact that Marvel has to share its Spidey productions with Sony. Blame a filming schedule hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Blame Agatha Harkness, because it was apparently her all along.

Anyway, the title for the third solo Spidey movie has not been revealed. But a trio of fake titles were unleashed upon social media last night, leading to mass hysteria (Cats and dogs! Living together!). And while the faux titles turned out to be a big goof, they did arrive alongside some actual images from the new movie. Check them out.

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F9 Trailer

After an extended delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the marketing machine for F9 is shifting back into gear. A new trailer for the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise debuted ahead of the Super Bowl, teasing the return of Vin Diesel‘s Dom to the driver’s seat and director Justin Lin (who helmed parts three through six of the series) to the director’s chair. And while there is a ton of lovely familiarity to this footage (Diesel mumbling about family! Outrageous car action that defies the laws of nature!), it’s the new stuff that seems really exciting. Specifically, John Cena as Dom’s long-lost and totally eeeevil brother seems like a welcome addition.

Check out the new trailer below.

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