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Fortnite’s Skull Trooper Is Back

Part of Update 6.02, the Skull Squad Gear includes a handful of pieces you can purchase and an extra piece of gear you can unlock courtesy of some fresh challenges. The Skull Trooper is the male avatar, and he can be yours as of today for 1,500 V-Bucks. If you’ve ever wanted to run around the Battle Royale map feeling like Johnny and his pals from The Karate Kid, this is a solid way to realize that fantasy. The Skull Ranger is the female avatar, which is going for 1,200 V-Bucks. There’s a new badass Skull Sickle for 1,200 V-Bucks, which add the sweet skin to your pickaxe. There’s also a rad-as-hell Crypt Cruiser glider, which looks like a chained-up coffin with spooky bat wings. That’ll set you back another 1,200 V-Bucks. Or, you could just drop 5,100 V-Bucks on the full package.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review

As far as the horror genre is concerned, one of the toughest lines to walk is knowing how much to scare your audience. This is particularly hard to approach when it comes to the world of family oriented horror films like Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, as it has to be scary enough to be fun, but funny enough to not totally traumatize its audience. Not only does the new film succeed in both of those areas, it’s also an exhilarating roller-coaster that kids of all ages can enjoy — with their parents smiling right beside them.

Halloween is descending on the town of Wardenclyffe, where Nikola Tesla once dabbled in science years beyond its time. As the children of that very location prepare for tricks and treats, three young residents (Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, and Madison Iseman) have their hands full doing battle with an evil unleashed from the pages of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. The only problem is, this story’s an unfinished manuscript, and the infamous Slappy the Dummy is about to give it the third act he thinks it needs.

Those of you who grew up with the Goosebumps books will definitely recognize the brush strokes of that series’ particular palette all over Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. With humor and scares that fit square into the wheelhouse of the pre-teen audience this film is reaching out to, it never gets too particularly grim or crude with its proceedings.

But even with the original books in mind, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween does seem to play more as a broad comedy with some threatening notes, rather than anything that could scare children over a certain age. While those novels really played on the fears of children, this movie aims for more of a Hocus Pocus blend of laughter and family thrills, with just a touch of menace. In fact, that particular film unintentionally shares some DNA with this film, when you really break down the plot structure.

What really makes Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween work are two things: the film’s pacing, and its keen eye for casting. As it runs a breezy 90 minutes, the film’s slight story doesn’t show any seams as it jumps from point to point with rapid succession. While we miss out on some rote, but essential, story beats, the film doesn’t suffer from it as it doesn’t linger too long on any one moment.

Meanwhile, the cast benefits from not only the talented young trio of Taylor, Harris, and Iseman anchoring the film’s action, but also from some seasoned comedy veterans flavoring the supporting cast rather well. Which leads us to the trio of Wendi Mclendon-Covey as the single mother of the central family, Chris Parnell as the man who would like to court her, and Ken Jeong as the wacky next door neighbor. All three manage to make the most of their limited screen time, and thankfully toe the important line of acting in a kids movie, but retaining their own personal comedic styles.

Of course, you’re probably asking if Jack Black is back for Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, seeing as he’s barely seen in the film’s marketing. Well, he is, both as the voice of Slappy and in the respect of playing the fictitious version of author R. L. Stine. The former sees him playing a part Crypt Keeper / part menacing villain figure that keeps things moving, even milking serious laughs out of numerous horror related puns. The latter, on the other hand, doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but still manages to get a couple of really good chuckles — one of which implies a faux rivalry between Stine and author Stephen King. Both are valuable additions to the machinery that make this film work.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween will please children to no end, provided they haven’t started graduating to the world of any horror films with ratings of PG-13 or above. It’s a lightning fast experience that floats on air, and can keep a family entertained for its brief, but exciting run. Though the story is slight, it’s still entertaining and perfect for this year’s Halloween season. Pair it with The House with a Clock in its Walls, and you’d have a fantastic, family friendly Halloween double header.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

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Johnny Depp Says He’s Returning For Fantastic Beasts 3

We’ve known for quite some time that we would be getting a bunch of Fantastic Beasts movies, but exactly who would be along for the entire journey was less clear. While we all expected Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander to be there, the rest were up in the air, but it looks like Johnny Depp has now confirmed he’ll be back for the third film in the franchise. In a recent interview, Depp stated…

Shortly before the release of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling revealed that this new franchise within her Wizarding World would take five movies. Johnny Depp, for his part, only appeared at the tail end of that movie, but in doing so we learned that another major actor Colin Ferrell, would not be returning for future installments. As such, it was far from certain who would be in for the long term and who would not.

It seemed likely that Johnny Depp would be back for additional films, but that wasn’t confirmed previously. The belief is that the rest of the Fantastic Beasts franchise will deal with the reign of terror caused by Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald, though since we don’t have a lot of details about where and when the other films will be set, it’s still possible Grindelwald will be dealt with sooner than that. Alternatively, it’s possible Grindelwald might not appear in all the films, jumping in and out as the story requires.

However, based on what Johnny Depp tells Collider he is scheduled to begin filming Fantastic Beasts 3, subtitle to be named later, at some point next year, with the film probably set to open in November of 2020, in order to keep these things coming out at a regular pace.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald takes place years after the first film, and a continent away. It also appears to be much more straightforward in its story. While the first film basically saw Newt Scamander happen into a much larger story about the conflict between the Wizarding World and the normal world by chasing after lost creatures, the sequel will be dealing with the aftermath of that and see Newt take on a much more focused role.

Not everybody has been happy with the casting of Johnny Depp in such a major franchise, so the fact that he appears to be in this for the long haul won’t be good news for some, but he has J.K. Rowling’s support, and is still a huge movie star, which is probably all that really matters.

Karl Urban Says Star Trek 4 News Is Still At A Halt

For a franchise that features interstellar travel, Star Trek sure seems to be having a lot of trouble getting off the ground. Following Star Trek Beyond, Star Trek 4 is seemingly in limbo. This uncertainty has been going on for a while now, and according to Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy actor Karl Urban, there is still no movement that he is aware of, as he explained.

So for anyone hoping to hear that the various issues plaguing Star Trek 4 were resolved and the franchise was moving forward, you’ll have to keep on waiting. As Karl Urban told Showbiz Junkies, he is in the dark as much as the rest of us and there is no new news about the film. Like his co-stars, he is still waiting for updates.

Now just because Karl Urban hasn’t heard anything doesn’t mean that the gears aren’t turning behind the scenes to get things moving again. It’s possible that things are still being worked out and they just haven’t gotten to a place where the cast is being updated because the situation is still fluid.

As far as what is holding up Star Trek 4, it seems to be more than one thing. At one point, the story for the film was supposedly going to involve time travel and see Chris Pine‘s James T. Kirk meet his father, Chris Hemsworth’s George Kirk. However, those two actors stepped away from the project a couple months ago when Paramount apparently wanted them to take less money than their existing deals called for.

Karl Urban has previously expressed optimism that the salary situation would get sorted out, but that doesn’t seem to have happened yet. There is also the question of what the story will be for the film. There are or were multiple scripts in the works for Star Trek 4, including one based on an idea proposed by Quentin Tarantino.

So I imagine that the contract disputes need to be sorted out definitively, one way or another, before Star Trek 4 can move forward. There is a debate to be had about whether or not Star Trek 4 can even work without Chris Pine, but regardless, if the scripts being written have his character in them, new scripts would be required if the actor doesn’t return, unless they chose to recast.

It’s a pity all these issues are plaguing the beloved property. Earlier this year, Star Trek 4 signed on the film side of the franchise’s first female director, S.J. Clarkson, but who knows when she’ll actually get to direct this film. Star Trek Beyond underperformed financially compared to its predecessors, but it was a critical hit, and perhaps if it was marketed better with a better release date, things might have been different. Hopefully the Enterprise, with this cast and crew, gets another chance to go boldly where no man has gone before.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest news about Star Trek 4 and the future of this franchise. In the meantime, there are plenty of huge movies actually on their way to theaters next year. Check them out in our 2019 release schedule.

Camila Mendes Says Seeking Help for Her Bulimia ‘Changed My Life’

Almost exactly one year ago, Camila Mendes opened up for the first time on social media about her past struggles with disordered eating, an admission she made in tandem with announcing her collaboration with Project HEAL, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources and funding to young people seeking treatment for eating disorders. Since then, she’s continued to speak candidly about her experiences with bulimia, as well as her recent decision to stop dieting once and for all. In her cover interview for the November 2018 issue of Shape, the Riverdale star spoke about how she’s recovering from years of disordered eating, and what made her decide to share this process with her millions of fans and followers.

“I’ve struggled with bulimia. It happened a little bit in high school and again when I was in college. Then it came back when I started working in this industry with fittings all the time and watching myself on camera. I had such an emotional relationship with food and anxiety about everything I put into my body,” Mendes said.“I was so scared of carbs that I wouldn’t let myself eat bread or rice ever. I’d go a week without eating them, then I would binge on them, and that would make me want to purge. If I ate a sweet, I would be like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to eat for five hours now.’ I was always punishing myself. I was even anxious about healthy food: Did I eat too much of the avocado? Did I have too many fats for one day? I was consumed with the details of what I was eating, and I always felt as if I was doing something wrong.”

About a year ago, the 24-year-old decided it was time to seek help. “I went to a therapist, and she recommended a nutritionist as well, and seeing both of them changed my life. So much of the anxiety I had about food went away when I started learning more about nutrition. My nutritionist completely cured my fear of carbs. She was like, ‘You need a balanced amount of good, healthy carbs in your life. Have a piece of toast in the morning; have some quinoa at lunch. When you’re eating a little of them all the time, you won’t have this crazy urge to binge. You won’t be scared of carbs anymore because you’re going to realize that eating them isn’t going to make you gain weight,'” Mendes said. “She also cured my addiction to dieting. I was always on some kind of weird diet, but I haven’t been on one since. I’m very proud of myself.”

And while the actor said she still faces some of the same insecurities she did before, she’s found ways to shut them down. “The voices in my head never completely go away. They’re just way quieter now. Every once in a while I’ll look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘Ugh, I don’t like the way that looks.’ But then I’ll just drop it. I don’t let it consume me,” she said. “I think it’s natural to judge or be critical of yourself. Everyone does it. But you can make the decision on the spot that you’re going to conquer it. In those moments I’ll look at myself and say, ‘You’re fine. You look good. This is your prime, so enjoy it.'”

It was that conscious decision to start loving herself just as she is that inspired Mendes to be more open with her followers. “It just felt so necessary for me to speak about those things,” she said. “I realized that I have this platform, and young women and men who look up to me, and there is a tremendous power to do something positive with it. It was definitely a very vulnerable thing to put that out there to almost 12 million people on social media. But that’s who I am. That’s me being authentically myself.” She continued, “As actors, yes, we bring joy to people. But for me, it’s also about what I’m doing for the world, what I’m contributing on a larger scale.”

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Brie Larson Shoots Down New Rumors About Her Future With Marvel Studios

With just two movies left before Phase Three concludes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to break new ground. Plenty of the shared universe’s biggest stars are coming to the end of their contracts, with Chris Evans even saying goodbye to Marvel after wrapping Avengers 4. Marvel and Disney are making their plans for the massive franchise post-Avengers 4, and a new report indicated that Brie Larson signed on for seven movies as Captain Marvel.

But now the actress is refuting this report, and took to her personal social media to share the truth about her arrangement with Marvel studios. As she tweeted,

Well, that was clear. It looks like Brie Larson won’t be sticking around for a whopping seven movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. How long Carol Danver’s tenure will actually last remains a mystery.

This new Tweet put that rumor to bed before it could really take root, and makes a great deal of sense. Seven movies is a giant undertaking for Brie Larson, even if both Captain Marvel and the untitled Avengers 4 are already in the can. Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have been playing their respective Avengers roles for around a decade, which might not be what Larson wants for her still growing career.

That being said, Captain Marvel does seem like she’ll have a very important role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially Avengers 4. Fans were left with their mouths agape after Thanos succeeded in destroying half of the galaxy with the snap of his finger– and its unclear how the Avengers will turn things around. But Nick Fury called for her help before he turned to dust, likely meaning Carol Danvers is key to their survival.

Brie Larson may deny having a 7-film deal with Disney, but it makes sense for Captain Marvel to become a big presence in the shared universe as it moves forward. Marvel seems committed to exploring more cosmic stories, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok helping to break that ground. So as space becomes a larger factor in the MCU, so should Larson’s upcoming intergalactic hero.

Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll have to wait until Avengers 4 arrives before any news comes about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future after Phase Three. Spider-Man: Far From Home is currently filming, but after that it’s a mystery.

Brie Larson will make her Marvel debut when Captain Marvel arrives on March 8, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Game Of Thrones Went High-Tech On Eliminating Spoilers For Season 8

In filming its final season, Game of Thrones was not about to take any chances with potential leaks. The series has experienced major spoiler problems in previous seasons, often from both physical photographers and cameras attached to flying drones. That’s how intel regarding Jon Snow and Daenerys’ big Season 7 meet came out, among other details. For Season 8, the crew knew what they needed to do: put an end the drones through high-tech means.

To do that, Game of Thrones‘ staff members employed technology characterized as a “drone killer.” Star Sophie Turner, who knows something about high tech, was the first to tease the lengths the show went to avoid spoilers. Sharing the story at New York Comic Con (via EW), the actress brought up the ultra-modern method implemented to keep spoilers to a minimum.

Suffice it to say, Game of Thrones did not hold back, using an instrument that was to drones what Qyburn’s giant crossbow was to Daenerys’ dragons. Sophie Turner said:

If anybody on this show knows when a piece of technology seems like it’s from the X-Men, it’s Sophie Turner. She plays Jean Grey in the film franchise, and her upcoming Dark Phoenix film has presumably fought back against spoiler leaks as well.

The device, Sophie Turner described should prove pivotal for spoiler-sensitive productions filming outside. The method Game of Thrones used seems to have worked, since few images from Season 8’s production have circulated. While spoilers have not always been an avoidable issue, due to the series being based on George R.R. Martin’s books, the show has been operating “off-book” since Season 6. So the various plots are completely new, making them bigger targets for onlookers.

In comparison to previous seasons, the final chapter in the on-screen saga means the stakes for Season 8 are the highest they’ve ever been. Therefor, for Game of Thrones to take this high-tech step makes total sense. Along with using “drone killers,” the show also tossed out the use of paper scripts, solely relying on digital formats that were only accessible by the concerned parties through a secure app.

It’s still not confirmed yet if Game of Thrones doubled up on hiding its ending by filming multiple versions. Even if they were using drone killers to get the job done overhead, it would still be sensible to further security on the ground by filming fake footage. Nevertheless, the anticipation surrounding that ending remains high, and since our wait isn’t set to end until some point next year, there is still lots of time left to speculate about it.

Find out how Sansa and the rest of the show’s numerous characters’ stories conclude, when Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season premieres on HBO in 2019. While fans wait, there are a lot of shows returning and debuting over fall that should help them pass the time between now and the HBO hit coming back.

Priyanka Chopra Reveals What Makes Her Relationship With Nick Jonas So Good

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are just one of many celebrity couples who became engaged over the summer. And now, in a new interview, the actress is explaining how fiancée life is different than just casually dating.

“I’m excited. It’s a very different feeling,” Chopra told E! News at a Tiffany & Co. event in New York City earlier this week. “I never realized that having a boyfriend and having a fiancé are completely different.” She added, “It just feels different. There’s gravitas. You feel like family, which is just so different.”

Jonas recently said what truly connects him and Chopra is their “love for family and faith,” and she echoed that sentiment to E! News. “We have that in common very much. We’ve known each other for a couple of years but we dated for just a little while, but I think that’s the one thing we really connect on, is our love for family and knowing faith is so important to us,” she said.

At the same Tiffany event, Chopra spoke to People about why she had her heart set on having her engagement ring come from the nearly 200-year-old luxury brand. “Well, I may have dropped that hint. I think we had a conversation about it when we were dating and I’ve always known it had to be Tiffany,” she said. “I just knew it since I was a kid. First, it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s that did it for every girl in the world, and then, of course, Sweet Home Alabama came and put a stamp on it that it has to be Tiffany!”

She continued, “Since I was a little girl, it was just something that was stuck in my head. And I may have said that, and I guess he remembered.”

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The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore Nearly Got Impaled In Hurricane Michael Coverage

The Weather Channel may have recently been accused of dramatizing weather segments to make storms look worse than they actually are, but this one looks legit. Jim Cantore is notorious for traveling to the worst weather situations in America and putting himself in the thick of it to deliver a story. The meteorologist did just that during Hurricane Michael, and could have been impaled by debris that flew in his direction during a live shot. Take a look.

Jim Cantore spotted a 2×4 sailing his direction mid-sentence and successfully managed to move to the side as it went past. He’s lucky his reflexes were on point, as one would imagine a piece of debris moving that fast toward someone could do some damage if it hit them. The meteorologist was rattled enough to seek temporary shelter behind a pillar, although his lack of reference to it on his social media seems to indicate it was just another day at the office.

The internet community was thankful Jim Cantore was safe, although there are a good number of folks who doubted he was ever in danger in the first place. Most skeptics found it surprising Cantore was able to spot out a fast-moving piece of debris through all the wind and rain and dodge it. It led to speculation that someone off camera may have thrown the debris, and that the segment was a planned stunt to help dramatize the report and make things more exciting.

That theory may be a bit easier to believe weeks after the viral weatherman lean video, and there have been videos that accused Jim Cantore of playing his reports up in the past. In Cantore’s defense, however, the audio shows the debris made a sound before he spotted it. The sound could mean the piece skipped across the ground and slowed its momentum, or it was dislodged from a structure that was relatively close to where they were reporting. Either way, the sound appeared to alert Cantore before the object sailed his way, which helped his reaction time.

One thing no one seems to be disputing is that Hurricane Michael and storms like it are dangerous, and Jim Cantore could’ve been seriously injured for reporting out in the storm. That hasn’t stopped him before, as he seems to thrive on the adrenaline of going out in bad weather and getting an up-close view at the raw power of mother nature. Some may say he enjoys it a little too much, as another viewer captured a much more lighthearted clip of Cantore making some sensual sounding grunts:

Hurricane season is still rolling strong, but so is the fall season. That means there are plenty of new and returning shows coming back each and every day that need a loyal television audience to stay on the air. Check out what all is coming with our fall premiere guide, and find the perfect show to get obsessed with as the weather cools down.

First Man Review

To this point in his career, director Damien Chazelle’s work has been driven by intense emotion. Whiplash is raw passion and drive. La La Land is built on love and loss. Hell, even his script work on 10 Cloverfield Lane is a ride of constant fear and paranoia. It’s been his ability to tap into those feelings that has made his movies each into individual visceral experiences.

First Man, however, is a different beast. It’s a film that documents one of the most important achievements in the history of humanity, and is stunningly dedicated to reality, but most importantly, Neil Armstrong is unlike any lead character Damien Chazelle has worked with so far. Rather than having the spectrum of feelings we’ve seen from the director’s other protagonists, Armstrong is portrayed as a stoic — surely a byproduct of his dangerous and potentially fatal work, where emotions can mean life or death. But while that disposition may have been key for the job, it’s also not exactly cinematic.

So while First Man is a stunningly-shot, beautiful, and thrilling piece of work, it more often than not feels cold and detached, preventing you from fully engaging with it.

Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, and adapted by Josh Singer, First Man begins nearly a decade before the fateful Apollo 11 mission when Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) was working as a test pilot — flying 140,000 feet above the Earth’s surface and allowing the film to open with a stunning view of the planet’s curvature… and a life-or-death situation. He is struck by tragedy when his two-year-old daughter is diagnosed with cancer, but finds opportunity for a fresh start for his family when he is recruited into the NASA program.

Relocating to Houston, Texas with the never-ending support of his wife Janet (Claire Foy) and his two sons, Neil begins his training for what will eventually be humanity’s first manned trip to the Moon. As he partakes in that particular adventure, however, he fully experiences the very real danger and stakes of what he’s doing, not only coming extraordinarily close to risking his own life, but losing a number of his colleagues.

First and foremost, First Man is absolutely a film that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible — especially in IMAX, given the select sequences shot specifically with the brand’s cameras. The reveal of the curvature of the Earth at the start of the movie mentioned earlier is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the visuals First Man delivers, and even when it’s operating with the more standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio, it still has moments that leave you temporarily stunned (a terrifying spin-out featured in the second act will make you hold your breath far longer than any doctor would recommend).

Of course, the real showstopper and primary reason to see the film is the event up to which the entire story leads: Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon (I refuse to accept any complaints that this is a spoiler). A sequence where the IMAX cameras are in full effect, it’s a jaw dropping experience, and it can be easily said there are few historical dramas that sweep you away quite like First Man does in those moments. It’s an epic demonstration of the power of cinema, as Damien Chazelle invites you to the cratered surface right alongside the heroes who took a giant leap for mankind.

Any moment where Neil Armstrong is seated in a cockpit is pure excellence, but that’s not all that the movie contains. And while the world’s most famous astronaut may have done some incredible things during his life, he’s also just not that captivating or charismatic as a personality. It’s not really a situation where blame can be placed at the feet of Damien Chazelle or Josh Singer, but rather just a side-effect of dedication to reality capturing the subject. Telling the story any other way would have been a betrayal to one of humanity’s true heroes, and surely made for a worse film, but it also prevents First Man from being a great one.

This also isn’t meant to short sell the performances by Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, both of whom do admirable work with the material they are given. Gosling, in fact, does some of his best work when his characters are all logic, no emotion (see: Drive), and his impressive calm is actually able to shine in moments where you yourself feel like you’re freaking out just watching him nearly get himself killed.

Meanwhile, as Janet, Claire Foy’s job is basically to be properly scared for her husband’s fate, and make sure that her kids are growing up alright despite the incredible stress in the family’s life — which is a trope we constantly see in these kinds of docudramas/biopics. It’s ultimately pretty thankless, but that doesn’t stop Foy from doing it well. She not only doesn’t fall into the trap of over-compensating for her husband’s phlegmatic disposition, but instead demonstrates why they are a couple by existing on the same wavelength as him. Again, it’s not the more compelling material, and it winds up leading to a very emotionally confusing final scene, but you’re convinced that this is who Janet Armstrong was.

Walking out of First Man, I realized that my feelings very much lined up with my thoughts about Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk last year. Both have riveting sequences, with standouts being filmed in glorious IMAX, and each has an admirable relationship with the past that lends a strange but important sense of credibility. However, that dedication to reality also cuts both ways, and similar to how Dunkirk didn’t have a single relatable character, First Man is limited when it comes to connectable protagonists, and it detracts from the experience. Overall, the Neil Armstrong feature definitely makes for the stronger narrative, mostly because it’s much better at establishing historical context, but it also isn’t everything you hope that it would be, and Damien Chazelle’s third best movie.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

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