Harry Potter theme park ride

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Universal has announced details of its new Harry Potter attraction, including an opening date.
  • Walt Disney World ticket prices have gone up again.
  • The family of a boy who suffered an injury on Universal’s E.T. ride is suing.
  • The Indiana Jones stunt show is getting an update.
  • And more!

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Five Feet Apart Trailer

Haley Lu Richardson has “up-and-coming movie star” written all over her, from her innate charm to her high-wattage smile, which she puts to excellent use in the sappy star-crossed romance Five Feet Apart. Richardson, who established herself with her impressive work in The Edge of Seventeen, Columbus, and Support The Girls, has an undeniable charisma that ensures her performance here is something truly special. The film surrounding Richardson, unfortunately, ends up being so mawkish and contrived that it’s more likely to elicit groans than tears.

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Splash at 35

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises.)

1984 was a transitional period for Hollywood. You don’t have to be deep in the weeds of film history to know this is the year when the MPAA introduced the PG-13 rating, a response to frustrated parents who felt that the PG-rated films Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were far too inappropriate for their children. But while the PG-13 rating had, and continues to have, major ramifications on the industry and the types of films it makes, 1984 was a transitory year for the Walt Disney Company too. This month marks the 35th anniversary of a major step forward for the company as a whole: the release of Ron Howard’s Splash. Read More »

star wars galaxy's edge concept art-1

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has a confirmed opening date, but there’s a catch.
  • Disney has filed for demolition of Innoventions in Epcot.
  • Cook like you’re in the Mos Eisley Cantina with a theme-park-flavored cookbook.
  • And more!

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star wars galaxys edge

In this edition:

  • Disney has unveiled a lot of exciting new details about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
  • Are they going to charge guests to buy a FastPass for the new rides in Disneyland?
  • Universal is introducing a nighttime light-projection Harry Potter show.
  • And more!

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I Am the Night

One of the hallmarks of Peak TV – the era in which we live where there’s just so much good TV, too much for any one person to watch – is the presence of people you typically only associate with the big screen. Certainly, some of the agreed-upon best TV shows of the 21st century are able to tell longer-form stories than any film, or even series of films, could. But shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and others also stand out either because they looked as impressive as films or because they featured people from the world of film on a small screen, no longer thought of as slumming it.

Of course, the downside of the migration of cinematic talent to the world of TV is that it’s no longer automatically remarkable to see an A-list movie star on a TV show, or a big-name director behind the camera of such a show. Timing, as they say, is everything, and timing is part of what makes the TNT limited series I Am the Night something of a letdown. It ought to be a big deal — the director and one of the stars of last year’s zeitgeist-y superhero film Wonder Woman have reunited for a period-piece crime drama that incorporates both fictionalized elements as well as the infamous Black Dahlia Killer to tell the story of a young woman whose past is far more sordid than even she realized. Instead, I Am the Night is a show that feels out of place in 2019.

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Star Wars Galaxy's Edge lightsabers

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Walt Disney World has installed a lot of solar panels.
  • Guests in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland have to keep their alcohol in the new land only.
  • One of Sea World’s parks is now a Certified Autism Center.
  • And more!

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The Good Place Ending

Michael Schur, the creator and showrunner of NBC’s ambitious philosophical comedy The Good Place, has never been shy about acknowledging the inspiration he found in ABC’s seminal sci-fi action drama Lost. Though the two shows, on the face of it, would seem to be wildly different, you can not only spot references to Lost in The Good Place, but Schur both consulted with Lost co-showrunner Damon Lindelof  early in the run of the comedy, and Lost writer Drew Goddard has directed a handful of episodes, including the pilot.

There’s one more place in which The Good Place needs to find some inspiration from Lost, though, and hopefully soon: it’s time for The Good Place to announce its end date.

This post contains major spoilers for all three seasons of The Good Place.

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Documentary Now Season 3

A mysterious cult taking up roots in a small American town. A perceptive look at a daring and bold performance artist. A moment or two in the life of a prickly jazz musician in a foreign country. A warts-and-all behind-the-scenes look at the recording of a Broadway cast album. These topics have all made for insightful, attention-grabbing documentaries, but they’re all also the subjects of one of the most precise and sharp parodies on any television network.

In fact, they’re all the focus of at least one episode of the new season of IFC’s Documentary Now!, one of the best, most clever, and intelligent comedies airing now that’s tailor-made to anyone who loves movies.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • World of Color is coming back to Disney California Adventure.
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has announced its Food and Wine Festival.
  • The Disney Skyliner did a test run this week in full view.
  • And more!

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