One of the most high-profile filmmakers associated with the streaming service Apple TV+ since its launch last November has been M. Night Shyamalan. Promotional images for Servant, which released its tense season finale on Friday, prominently featured the words, “From M. Night Shyamalan” over the title. Shyamalan directed the show’s pilot and serves as one of its executive producers, much like he did with Fox’s Wayward Pines.

The plot of Servant revolves around a suspicious nanny who enters the life of a Philadelphia couple. Here, as with Wayward Pines, Shyamalan has taken a step back from writing duties. Showrunner Tony Basgallop wrote all ten episodes of Servant’s first season. Yet there are aspects of the show that feel very much of a piece with Shyamalan’s overall body of work as a writer-director. It’s another atmospheric dip into psychological horror where the choice of setting, the familiar preoccupation with belief and delusion, a newer tendency toward exploitation tactics, and less salubrious aspects like accusations of plagiarism (Servant is now the subject of a lawsuit) all draw a line to previous moments in his career.

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(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we go to war… in space!)

Paul Verhoeven is a filmmaker whose career has seen highs and lows, hits and misses, blockbusters and quiet indies, but the one constant is that his best film will always be Robocop (1987). This is not an article about Robocop, but it is about the big, action/sci-fi movie he made a decade later that echoes some of the same satirical stylings.

1997’s Starship Troopers is a loose adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s novel – an unrelated script was the film’s basis, and the studio simply bought the title rights from the novel before mashing the two together – but where the book is hardcore militaristic, Verhoeven’s film takes a more cynical, darkly humorous, and dismissive tone. It wasn’t quite the hit they hoped for, but its growth into a cult favorite helped spawn two live-action sequels that went straight to DVD/TV. So let’s be good citizens and give ’em a spin!

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/Film’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

With 2019 officially in the record books, it’s time to look ahead. And from the cold wastelands of January, the rest of 2020 certainly looks promising. Well, at least it looks promising for the movies.

After hunkering down and deciding on a list of 25 movies we most wanted to see in the next year (a process that was recorded as a podcast), the team voted on the final ranking. And here we are. These are our 25 most anticipated movies of 2020.

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doctor who nikola tesla's night of terror review

Doctor Who is a show of sky-highs and deep lows, and baby, we’re back up in the air again. After last week’s episode wasted a fantastically creepy monster design and an ambitious premise, Doctor Who is back to the well trod historical. Doctor Who has had an unusual history with its historical episodes — early seasons of the Classic series infusing as little sci-fi elements as possible, while the Doctor Who revival went full-tilt on “Shakespeare battles alien witches,” etc. In their inaugural season, Chris Chibnall and his writing team attempt a return to those period-accurate historicals, with the Doctor and Team TARDIS barely making a dent on history as it happened in front of them. It was educational, it was thoughtful, but it was boring. But this season is changing all that, first with the season premiere bringing in three important female figures in the invention of computers (before erasing their memories, boo), and now with the Nikola Tesla-centric episode, “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror.”

This season of Doctor Who has swung way in the opposite direction of last season’s reverent but stiff historical episodes — now we get Tesla battling an army of scorpion aliens, and it rules. But most disarmingly, it’s sweet and endearing to Tesla in a way that Doctor Who hasn’t been to a real-life figure since the all-time great 2010 episode, “Vincent and the Doctor.” Is this Jodie Whittaker‘s own “Vincent and the Doctor”? It’s not quite on par with the Richard Curtis-penned episode, but it’s almost up there.

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Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker resistance fleet

Since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is wrapping up the Skywalker saga, it’s pretty much the last time for some key characters to make a significant appearance in the long-running sci-fi saga. And since it’s the end of an era in a galaxy far, far away, there are plenty of people who wanted to get in on the last chapter of the story that began all the way back in 1977.

That’s why there are plenty of cameos to behold in The Rise of Skywalker, some in the form of new characters, others being characters from previous installments of Star Wars. We’ve got a list of all the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cameos that we know of so far, but beware of major spoilers as we name them. Read More »

best foreign movies and tv streaming

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

In this week’s Pop Culture Imports, the French would gladly die for love…and liberty, equality, and a good apartment building. This week’s column is dominated by films that come from the land of baguettes and biting social satire. Some of the best foreign movies and TV streaming now include Luis Buñuel’s surrealist masterpiece, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s bizarre post-apocalyptic black comedy Delicatessen, Roman Polanski’s psychological horror film The Tenant, as well as two collaborative Netflix titles that give refreshing spins on anime and the crime drama.

So, let’s do as Bong Joon-ho says and overcome that one-inch barrier of subtitles to watch the best foreign movies and TV streaming now.

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No Time to Die Theme Song

This week, Billie Eilish announced that she is writing and performing the song for the upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die. Hans Zimmer was also confirmed to write the score. Zimmer was on a Television Critics Association panel for the nature docu-series Seven Worlds, One Planet, for which he also provided the score. After the panel, he spoke with reporters about upcoming projects.

Find out how Zimmer is going to work with Eilish, how he hooked up with the Bond producers, and how far along he is on the score. You can hear Zimmer’s Seven Worlds, One Planet starting January 19 on BBC America.

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The off-Broadway musical adaptation of Sing Street at the New York Workshop Theatre carries on the starry and head-banging spirit of John Carney’s 2016 indie hit. The stage script is adapted and expanded by Enda Walsh, who also penned the Tony-winning stage musical treatment for Carney’s Once

It’s 1982 in Dublin, Ireland and the family of 16-year-old Connor (a stellar Brenock O’Connor) is among those caught in the waves of economic despair. To conserve their savings, his parents (Amy Warren and Billy Carter) pluck Connor from a fee-required private school and place him into a free Catholic school on Synge Street where he is singled out by a bully (Johnny Newcomb) and the austere headmaster, Brother Baxter (Martin Moran). Later, he spies 18-year-old Raphina (Zara Devlin), an aspiring model, posing coolly against the wall with her flashing sunglasses. On the fly, he forms a band so that she may model in his music video and she happily tags along. Raphina is the catalyst to find his song, but his band isn’t so much about winning the girl as it is finding an outlet for malaise.

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Why the Veronica Mars Revival Was Canceled

Hulu brought fan favorite series Veronica Mars back for a fourth season last summer. Creator Rob Thomas had plans to continue producing short seasons and star Kristen Bell was on board to return. So it was surprising when Thomas said in November that there are no plans for a fifth season

Hulu SVP of Originals Craig Erwich gave an executive session for the Television Critics Association today. He addressed questions about why the streamer is not proceeding with Veronica Mars.

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weathering with you review

Makoto Shinkai is a filmmaker whose heart lies with the cosmos. The Your Name director looks at the world through a lens so expansive that sometimes humans can get lost in it — his earliest films more often than not forgot about the character and favored the awe inspired by natural phenomena: meteor showers, typhoons, the unchanging rhythm of the seasons. Like Hayao Miyazaki, who Shinkai has frequently been compared to as the anime legend’s widely regarded successor, Shinkai bows to the might of nature — though his films don’t have quite the deep political messaging as Miyazaki’s.

Shinkai’s strengths lie in his breathtaking animated tributes to the power of nature, rendered in stunning photorealistic animation, and the ripples that natural phenomena send to affect the little people on Earth. It’s why his early films would often feel cold and distant, and his characters vague outlines of people. But with the globally successful Your Name, Shinkai gained a sense of humor. He found a funny bone, a perfect compromise between his cosmic ambition and his intimate character writing. He swings even further in that lighthearted direction with Weathering With You, a whimsical supernatural romance with a pointed environmental message that is even more vibrant than his 2016 mega-hit, but doesn’t quite pack the same emotional wallop.

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