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7 TV Shows and Movies to Watch the Week of December 8, 2019

We’re officially into December, which means the weather outside is cold, cold, cold. So instead of going outside, cancel all your plans and warm up to these seven TV shows and movies. From Netflix specials to Hallmark holiday movies, you’re about to be so cozy.

Below, all the TV shows and movies to watch this week:

Sunday, December 8

Molly Austin: Zero to New Jersey: A new comedy album from Molly Austin. According to a release, this new record is a “perfect juxtaposition of someone who firmly stands her grounds in her convictions yet isn’t afraid to share her vulnerabilities.” Listen here.

Monday, December 9

Family Reunion: A Family Reunion Christmas: Here is Netflix’s official description for this new series. Streaming on Netflix

“When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to Georgia to be closer to extended family, the transition is like being a catfish out of water. From three-hour church services and huge humidity hair to M’Dear’s home cooking and family bonding, the everyday ups and downs of Family Reunion are real, memorable, toe tapping, heart stopping, laugh out loud authentic moments. The series stars Emmy-Award winner Loretta Devine and Tia Mowry.”

Tuesday, December 10

Michelle Wolf: Joke Show: A new comedy special from Michelle Wolf, focusing on outrage culture, feminism, and massages, among other topics. Streaming on Netflix

Wednesday, December 11

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements: Read HBO’s official description, below. 9 P.M. ET on HBO

“Directed by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-award winner Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s Beware the Slenderman, The Final Inc, Hear and Now), Moonlight Sonata is a deeply personal memoir about a deaf boy growing up, his deaf grandfather growing old, and Ludwig van Beethoven the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata. An intergenerational, inter-era tale of deafness, Moonlight Sonata explores what we discover when we push beyond loss.”

Thursday, December 12

Jack Whitehall: Christmas With My Father: Per Netflix this special shows “Jack Whitehall invites his notoriously stuffy father onstage in London’s West End for a Christmas comedy extravaganza.” Streaming on Netflix

Friday, December 13

6 Underground: A new action film starring Ryan Reynolds and Mélanie Laurent about a group of vigilante billionaires. Streaming on Netflix

Saturday, December 14

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy: Read Hallmark’s official description for this movie, below. 8 P.M. ET on Hallmark

“As the town searches for a rumored Christmas Time Capsule, a skeptical writer arrives in Evergreen to get the story on the town’s “too-good-to-be-true” Christmas-fever.”

MCU: The 10 Most Iconic Marvel Comic References In Phase 3

Proof the "Avengers Assemble" line was always reserved for Captain America

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains a myriad of spoilers from Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you haven’t been to the movies in a good three years, proceed with caution.

Eleven years after Kevin Feige kicked off a colossal comic book franchise with Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded its third phase with the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home in the summer of 2019. One of the essential things that made experiencing the MCU’s Phase Three so satisfying was the strikingly accurate references to the original source material.

With Phase Four closely on the horizon following the recent arrival of Black Widow’s first trailer, let us look back on the last three years of the MCU by celebrating the moments that made Marvel Comics fans giddy to see their favorite panels brought to life on the big screen. There are countless easter eggs to choose from among the 11 films in Phase Three, but hopefully you can settle for the 10 iconic references I have narrowed it down to below.

Ant-Man and Hawkeye seem to work well together

Ant-Man Riding Hawkeye’s Arrow (Captain America: Civil War)

They had never officially met until they were thrown together as teammates on one side of a battle between superheroes. Yet, Hawkeye and Ant-Man know how to combine their efforts to create one of the more impressive attack strategies executed in the MCU’s history.

During the airport battle sequence in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, we see Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) preparing to fire his arrow at an unknown target, then seems to be speaking to offscreen Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). The camera pulls back to reveal the miniaturized Avenger-hopeful hanging on for dear life by the tip of Hawkeye’s arrow.

This memorable moment from one of the most celebrated action sequences in recent memory is actually a recreation of the cover art of Marvel’s Avengers #223, by illustrators Ed Hannigan and Klaus Janson. The comic book issue, published in 1982, takes place at a carnival, instead of an airport.

Spider-Man is overwhelmed by the amount of Mysterios

Spider-Man Surrounded by Multiple Mysterios (Spider-Man: Far From Home)

The MCU’s international follow-up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the concluding film of Phase Three, sees Tom Holland’s Peter Parker as a more confident, accomplished crimefighter (even if he can’t speak the same for his social life). Yet, an essential characteristic of Peter is his vulnerability, and that moment is most clear after his enemy shows his true colors.

When Peter races to turn him in to reveal the true identity of Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), he soon realizes he walked into an illusional trap, complimented with an overwhelming myriad of horrifying visuals, including an army of Mysterios, blocking any chance he has of escaping the nightmare of his defeat. This special effects extravaganza preceding Spider-Man: Far From Home’s intense third act is a clear reference to the cover of 1979’s The Amazing Spider-Man #198.

Doctor Strange has quite a spirit

Doctor Strange’s Watches His Surgery From The Astral Plane (Doctor Strange)

Leave it to director Scott Derrickson to put an irreverent Marvel comics hero like Doctor Strange in a film with comparative levels of urgency as the horror films he is known for. For as much of a fun, dizzying interdimensional fantasy that Phase Three’s most “magical” film is, it is not without its dark moments.

This is most apparent in 2016’s Doctor Strange when a wounded Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) enlists the help of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) to save his life as the fabric of the universe is threatened. During the impromptu surgery, Strange’s astral body temporarily leaves his physical form, allowing him to witness the operation for himself from above.

This is another MCU moment ripped almost directly from the pages of Marvel comics. A similar scene takes place in a Doctor Stranger storyline title “The Oath,” in which Strange assists a night nurse tending to his physical body from the astral plane.

That Thanos Scarecrow would surely keep crows away

Thanos Takes Up Farming (Avengers: Endgame)

Following his success in “creating balance” to the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos (Josh Brolin) first appears in Avengers: Endgame doing just what he promised he would following his victory: resting. His retirement location of choice: a distant planet, on which he find solitude and a hobby in farming his own crops.

Despite the liberties that the MCU took in adapting the storyline to film, this is an almost perfect visual representation of the conclusion of Marvel comics’ Infinity Gauntlet storyline, right down to the show of Thanos’ Titan armor scarecrow. The biggest difference is that his farming days come after the Avengers have reversed his “snap” and his retirement is by the authority of Adam Warlock, an essential character to the monumental comic event who has yet to be properly introduced to the MCU, outside of a subtle hint in a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene during Phase Three.

Anyone should have known Captain America was faking his allegiance to Hydra

Captain America Says “Hail Hydra” (Avengers: Endgame)

Speaking of, Avengers: Endgame is chock-full of iconic Marvel comics moments that fans have eagerly awaited to see translated to celluloid since the dawn of the MCU. The then-controversial reveal of Captain America’s secret life as a Hydra agent in 2016’s Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 is not necessarily one them, but thankfully the film’s way of referencing it was a welcome rewrite.

The easter egg comes during the film’s pivotal Time Heist when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), clad in his circa 2012 uniform, enters an elevator with several Hydra agents posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who have confiscated Loki’s scepter. What at first seems like a call back to an iconic fight in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, quickly takes a shocking turn when Cap earns his silent enemies’ trust by uttering the earth shattering words, “Hail Hydra.”

Hey, they're not the Avengers!

Spider-Man Takes On Thieves In Avengers Masks (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

One of the funniest moments from Phase Three’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and a definitive example of Peter Parker’s signature sense of humor is when he foils a bank heist. When Spidey (Tom Holland) notices a group of four thieves donning masks resembling Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor, he makes his presence known by initially acting starstruck to meet the real Avengers.

Not only does the scene involve fun callbacks to Spider-Man’s role in Captain America: Civil War (such as Peter Parker pointing out that it is nice to finally meet Thor and Hulk), but is also heavily influenced by Marvel comics. A similar moment occurs in Ultimate Spider-Man #42, in which Peter Parker walks in on a heist carried out by superhero imposters.

Hulk looks smashing in battle garb

Hulk’s Gladiator Armor (Thor: Ragnarok)

One of the most famous storylines in Marvel comics to put Hulk in the spotlight is Planet Hulk, which sees Bruce Banner’s alter ego banished by the Avengers to a distant planet. While there, the planet’s emperor, the Red King, forces the green guy to be his warrior slave, donning classic gladiator armor.

Thor: Ragnarok takes a lot of inspiration from this plot as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself stuck on a strange planet, on which the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) forces the God of Thunder into a battle against his “friend from work,” a Hulked out Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The image of the MCU’s armored-up Hulk emerging into the arena is an almost perfect recreation of his comic book counterpart’s gladiator look.

Two of Marvel's strongest titans almost literally within arm's length of each other's fates

Captain America’s Shield Blocking Iron Man’s Blast (Captain America: Civil War)

The storyline of Phase Three’s premiere film, Captain America: Civil War, is a staggeringly loose adaptation of the 2000s Marvel comics storyline about a disagreement between Cap and Iron Man that gets gravely out of hand. However, one of the film’s most definitive moments is ripped directly right from Civil War’s panels.

The staggering sight of Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) shield deflecting Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) attack in the final act of the film plays out pretty much exactly as the comic. Of course, instead of an abandoned government lab with a wounded Bucky (Sebastian Stan) off to the side, the comic depicts this face-off atop a pile of unconscious superheroes following what must have been a pretty nasty urban battle.

Wakanda's battles might be safer somewhere other than waterfalls

Killmonger Tosses T’Challa From A Waterfall (Black Panther)

T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) duel against his long lost cousin Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) marked a pivotal moment in 2018’s Oscar-nominated Black Panther. Killmonger succeeds his malicious intentions by throwing Wakanda’s newly crowned king off the side of a cliff, supposedly killing him and, thus, seizing the throne.

It was clear that, in typical MCU fashion, this would not be the last we would see of T’Challa in his own film, but the moment did pay a well-earned tribute to an original Marvel comic. Jungle Action #6 sees Black Panther suffer defeat in the same exact way, by the same exact person, and with the same exact consequence as in the film.

Captain America is worthy!

Captain America Wields Thor’s Hammer (Avengers: Endgame)

The MCU teased the idea of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lifting Mjolnir in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a much-discussed moment paid off gloriously in the final act of Avengers: Endgame. Captain America finally proves he is worthy by wielding the Asgardian weapon against Thanos (Josh Brolin), much to Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) giddy satisfaction.

Captain America is not the only Marvel hero to successful handle Thor’s Hammer in the comics’ history, but that makes the reveal of his worthiness on film no less astonishing. While his first time wielding Mjolnir was depicted in Thor #390 in 1966, the moment in Avengers: Endgame more closely resembles a panel from the seventh issue of the Fear Itself storyline in 2011.

The MCU has proven itself worthy, too, of fans’ admiration of how it pays tribute to the Marvel comics that inspired the endurable franchise. As one can tell from the numerous easter eggs and direct recreations above, the films of Phase Three are no exception.

We can only imagine what is in store for Phase Four and are eagerly awaiting its arrival with the release of Black Widow in May, 2020. Until then, be sure to check back on CinemaBlend or more updates on the future of the MCU.

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10 Star Wars Movie Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

There are more facts to know about Star Wars than you realize

With J.J. Abrams’ return to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker approaching theaters at lightspeed, it seems appropriate to think back on all the essential Star Wars movie facts our minds have acquired. Of course, every die-hard Star Wars fan considers themselves “the Chosen One” in the fandom, claiming to have a complete encyclopedic mind of all Star Wars facts there are to know.

Perhaps you can name every system of planets in the galaxy or explain the “Who shot first?” debacle, but I’m willing to bet there are a few bits of Star Wars trivia that fell through the cracks for you. In fact, I have compiled 10 of the most shocking, intriguing, or just downright ridiculous lesser-known facts about the Star Wars movies here. Read through them and we shall see who the trivia master is.

What would have become of Mark Hamill of Luke Skywalker was written as a woman?

Luke Skywalker Was Almost A Girl

Since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, the epic sci-fi saga has been led by a female Jedi (Daisy Ridley’s Rey) as the central hero. There was a time when that could have been the case for film that started it all.

Back in 1975 when Star Wars was still referred to as The Adventures of Starkiller, George Lucas found his second draft of the screenplay to be overcrowded with male characters. With the dawn of the feminist movement on the rise, Lucas decided apply a feminine touch to the story, by re-writing his protagonist, then called Luke Starkiller, as an 18-year-old woman. That gender swap lasted just a few months until Princess Leia was reincorporated into the preceding draft.

The Star Wars lightsaber sound is too good to be an accident, right?

The Iconic Lightsaber Hum Was Created By Accident

The lightsaber has such a brilliantly distinct sound that no young Star Wars fan can resist replicating its hum during playtime Jedi with friends. Surprisingly, the design of the weapon’s signature sound was purely by mistake.

Ben Burtt, the sound designer for most of the Star Wars movies, revealed in an interview found on a laserdisc box set for the original trilogy that, while he had an idea of how the lightsaber should sound like, the actual sound did not come to him until the moment he describes here:

I was carrying a microphone across the room… when the microphone passed a television set which was on the floor, which was on at the time without the sound turned up, but the microphone passed right behind the picture tube and, as it did, [it] produced an unusual hum… That was a great buzz, actually. So, I took that buzz and recorded it and combined it with the projector motor sound and that 50/50 kind of combination of those two sounds became the basic lightsaber tone.

Burtt would later experiment with waving a microphone in front of a speaker playing his new found lightsaber sound to figure out the sound of the weapon’s movement. All it took was a little accidental signal interference to complete the design of one of the most iconic and beloved props in cinematic history.

George Lucas directs C-3PO on the set of Star Wars

George Lucas Actually Lost Money Over Star Wars… To Steven Spielberg

If box office results were used in gambling, assuming a Star Wars movie will take home most of the dough would more than likely prove to be a safe bet. Someone who did not believe this to be the case at one time was the saga’s own creator, George Lucas.

With his friend, Steven Spielberg, having just recently directed the highest grossing film of all time (Jaws) just two years earlier, George Lucas was positive that Spielberg’s next film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was going to be a bigger hit than Star Wars in 1977. The pair put this concept to the test and agreed that if Close Encounters made more money, Lucas would receive 2.5 points from Spielberg’s stake in the film, but if Star Wars became the victor successful, Spielberg would get the 2.5 points of Lucas’ stake.

While Close Encounters Of The Third Kind was a surefire hit, grossing around $340 million worldwide, Star Wars earned about $800 million, more than double the earning of Steven Spielberg’s earthbound sci-fi drama. More than 40 years later, this bet has cost George Lucas millions that have gone straight into Spielberg’s pocket.

Liam Neeson is his sole Star Wars film

Liam Neeson Was Too Big For Star Wars… Literally

While the Star Wars movies are, undeniably, a larger than life franchise, it proved too small for one of its actors. By “too small,” we mean the sets.

When Liam Neeson joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, the productions live action sets had already been built, failing to accommodate the Irish actor’s 6’4” stature. Thus, an additional $150,000 was spent to rebuild the sets and keep Qui-gon Jin from bumping his head on every archway he passed through.

Jar Jar Binks has had enough of your abuse

The Jar Jar Hate Was Harder On The Actor Than You May Realize

The Star Wars prequels are considered by many as the black sheep of the franchise. One actor, whose character receives a lot of blame for the drop in quality, took the backlash more personally than the typical fanboy troll circa 1999 may have realized.

Nearly 20 years after the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Ahmed Best, the voice of Jar Jar Binks, shared this tweet in acknowledgement of the backlash his infamous role received and how he almost took his own life over it:

I think we can all agree that no movie role is worth contemplating suicide over, but no character is worth throwing abuse at the actor hired to play them either.

The Ewoks really know how to rock

The Ewoks’ Odd Connection To The Band Toto

One of the most definitive aspects of the Star Wars movies is John Williams’ exhilarating score. The legendary composer enlisted his son, Joseph Williams, to contribute to the saga’s musical legacy by writing the English lyrics to the Ewoks’ victory song heard at the end of Return of the Jedi.

You might also recognize Joseph Williams from his endurable 1982 hit “Africa.” That’s right, one of the writers of the Ewoks’ victory song is the lead singer of ‘80s rock band Toto.

Imagine Justin Timberlake in the Cantina Band

A Certain Boy Band Almost Claimed Star Wars Fame, Too

You think that the guy who wrote “Africa” composing music for the Ewoks is weird? How about the guys who sang “Bye, Bye, Bye” making a Star Wars cameo.

By the request of his daughter, George Lucas filmed the members of pop music sensation *NSYNC for a scene in 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. But just before you pop in your dusty DVD copy (or just log in to Disney+, even) to spot where Justin Timberlake shows up, allow me to assure you that your search will come up short.

Just a few months before the release of the second Star Wars prequel, George Lucas teased that *NSYNC would make an appearance… and immediately met vapid backlash from fans. Lucas removed the cameo from the final cut before it hit theaters, and the rest is history.

Darth Vader is angry he can't go to the Star Wars cast reunion

You Won’t Find Darth Vader At Any Star Wars Events

George Lucas has proven himself to be a committed follower to the light side of the Force, so much so that he officially blacklisted Darth Vader himself. Not James Earl Jones, who provided the voice of the Sith lord, but the actor who filled his suit, David Prowse.

In 2010, at 75 years old, David Prowse announced on his official website that George Lucas had banned him from attending any future official events related to the saga – that means no fan conventions or cast reunions. This stems from reports that the Star Wars creator was annoyed by the numerous arguments he had with the actor over issues like replacing Prowse’s voice with James Earl Jones or Lucas accusing the actor of trying to sabotage the reveal that Vader was Luke’s father before the release of The Empire Strikes Back.

Nevah tell Christopher Walken the awwwds

Christopher Walken Could Have Played Han Solo

It is hard to imagine anyone else playing lone outlaw-turned-resistance fighter Han Solo than the incomparable Harrison Ford. It is even harder to imagine someone like, say, Christopher Walken bringing the iconic Star Wars role to life. Yet, it almost happened.

The Academy Award-winner immortalized by his request for more cowbell on Saturday Night Live, was considered for the role of Han Solo, among the likes of Nick Nolte, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, and even Frasier himself, Kelsey Grammer. Of course, then-carpenter Harrison Ford, having worked with George Lucas once before in 1973’s American Graffiti, landed the role, but it is still a fun idea to imagine the Star Wars movies with Christopher Walken’s signature drawl.

A puppet Yoda was always meant to be

Yoda Was Almost Not A Puppet

Maybe you prefer the Star Wars prequels’ CGI recreation of Jedi master Yoda over the original trilogy’s puppeteering. Believe me, it could have been a lot weirder.

Before Frank Oz was brought on as the puppeteer and voice of Yoda, the filmmakers considered using a trained monkey in a green mask for the role. That was until one of the crew members, who had previously worked with monkeys on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, assured the filmmakers, “Look, the monkey’s just going to pull off the mask over and over again. It’s never going to work.”

So, are these the little known Star Wars facts you were looking for? Were we the first to shoot off these incredible bits of trivia, or did you reply to each entry with a resounding, “I know”?

Either way, until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2020, be sure to check back to CinemaBlend for more fun facts and new updates on Star Wars and may the Force be with you.

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The 8 Best Spy Movies On Netflix Right Now

Ulrich Mure - The Lives Of Others

Are you looking for something good to watch on Netflix? It’s a common concern in our digital age. The streaming service has hours upon hours of content available at the click of a button, but it seems impossible to narrow down what you want to watch. It’s certainly a fine problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. But you’re in luck, especially if you’re looking for fun spy movies to watch. Because we have narrowed the selection down a bit. Hopefully, there’s something for everyone on this list — whether you’re looking for action, comedy, mystery, suspense, or something else altogether.

There are still a treasure trove of movies available on Netflix, but if you’re looking for solid recommendations, especially in the spy genre, then look no further than this list, where we’ll offer just eight of the best spy films currently available on Netflix’s streaming platform. Whether it’s something a little more adult or family-friendly, or it’s something action-friendly or full of laughs, we’ve got your picks waiting for you to pick from. Should you choose this mission, of course. Without further ado, let’s break down just eight of the finest, funniest and/or silliest spy films currently available for your viewing pleasure on Netflix. Action, adventure, danger and mystery all wait for you at the click of a button with these titles. Enjoy your movie night!

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Poster

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997)

Who said spy movies needed to be so serious? With the Austin Powers franchise, Saturday Night Live veteran Mike Myers firmly cemented himself as a household name. The loving 007 parody spawned a franchise that quite nearly rivaled the scope and scale of its blockbuster inspiration. While the sequels never quite reached the same heights as its predecessor, the original Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is still a great slice of satire fun. Portrayed by Mike Myers, who also wrote the comedy’s screenplay, Myers adopts the wacky, weird persona of the title character, a super spy with a healthy libido and no shortage of chest hair to boot. The character’s love for raunchy humor and double entendres inform the movie’s super silly sense of humor, particularly as it focuses on the ’70s character’s fish out of water adventures in the ’90s. If you haven’t seen it, it is positively groovy. Stream it here.

Ulrich Muhe in The Lives of Others

The Lives Of Others (2006)

Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s spellbinding The Lives of Others is an appropriately mesmerizing achievement, if one that doesn’t quite have the glamor or radiance that comes with other spy movies. Closer in the vein to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation than anything that might come to mind when you think about spy movies, this mystery-thriller, which follows an agent conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover and increasingly finds himself engrossed in their intimate lives, is nevertheless a thrilling and captivating achievement. It should come as little surprise that it took home the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2007. This intriguing, thoughtful, and thematically dense tale is one worth sharing to others. Watch it here.

The Cast of Spy Kids

Spy Kids (2001)

But spy adventures shouldn’t be solely for the adults. Let the kids join in on the fun! While Robert Rodriguez’s family-friendly features haven’t always resulted in his best work, the filmmaker channelled the charm, creativity, and energy of his adult movies and provided an engaging, entertaining new take on the spy genre with 2001’s delightful Spy Kids, one that found the children taking the center stage in a brave effort to rescue their parents from an evil television personality. It is filled with fun gadgets, enjoyable set pieces, several light-hearted moments, and lots of hijinks. Suffice to say, audiences of all-ages can enjoy this early ’00s action-adventure. When it comes to the sequels… well, you might be better off not accepting those missions. We’ll leave it at that. Check out Spy Kids here.

Matt Damon - The Informant!

The Informant! (2009)

While Steven Soderbergh might be more commonly known for his heist trilogy, Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, as well as his award-winning titles like Erin Brockovich and Traffic, to name only two, one very entertaining romp from the acclaimed filmmaker that unfortunately slipped through the cracks was 2009’s The Informant!, a true story that’s so ludicrous, you’d swear it’s fiction. Featuring a career-best performance from Matt Damon, this dramedy finds Damon playing Mark Whitacre, a whistleblower in the lysine price-fixing conspiracy in the mid-’90s who finds himself caught up in a large stream of absurd circumstances throughout the movie’s runtime. While the tale never fails to recognize the humor in this situation, the film’s portrayal of Mark Whitacre shows a midwestern man who wants to believe he’s at the center of a spy capper. Suffice to say, the irony of it all provided a far richer tale. See it all play out here.

Diane Kruger - Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Like many Quentin Tarantino movies, Inglourious Basterds isn’t simply one thing. The revisionist war drama/dark comedy is a film that’s defined more by the eccentric filmmaker’s eclectic tastes than any one specific genre. Therefore, it’s a little strange to suggest that it’s a spy film, since that’s only one of several things that someone can call the controversial film, but it does fit the mold — if even marginally. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine many opportunities where one wouldn’t want to celebrate this sensationally good film. The story of a group of allied Jewish soldiers tasked with taking down any and all Nazi soldiers, particularly by way of scalping, plays fast-and-loose with the facts and it isn’t one that’s easy to define. Nevertheless, it does feature one dazzling sequence with its central spy character, played by Diane Kruger, and it offers plenty of other stylish twists and turns. Check it out here.

Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle - Traitor

Traitor (2008)

A straightforward-yet-engaging American spy thriller, Traitor features strong performances from both Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce as the former plays a Sudanese-American former U.S. soldier with a history of high explosives whom the latter, an FBI special agent, is searching for related to a series of explosions directed at civilians. It’s a tense character piece, with a story credit from Steve Martin (surprisingly), yet it’s a compelling and dynamic little thriller, one that should make for an engaging viewing. Often, a pair of acclaimed actors providing commanding work is more than enough to satisfy. You can certainly expect to find a number of solid, well-realized performances, as well as thrilling dramatic moments and a whole lot more, in Traitor. Check it out here.

Vin Diesel - xXx

xXx (2002)

Sometimes, you just want to watch something dumb. There’s no shame in that. After a long day of work, or an exhausting run of errands, you want to snuggle up on the couch, put on Netflix and relax your brain for two hours. If that’s the case, then you will likely get a kick out of Vin Diesel’s extremely stupid, yet often entertainingly absurd, xXx. A movie title that will produce no shortage of inappropriate responses if you put it in wrong, this early ’00s vehicle for the Fast and the Furious actor is macho movie with a teenage boy’s understanding of cool. It has pretty woman, dangerous stunts, fast-moving vehicles and several scenes with its lead actor trying to act like the toughest mofo there is. It’s not necessarily a good movie. Hell, it might not even be a decent one. But if you want to unwind and watch something that verges damn well near “so bad it’s good” territory, this one could be fun. Stream it here.

The Cast of Layer Cake

Layer Cake (2004)

While Layer Cake might not exactly fit the bill as a traditional spy movie, as it owes more to the crime genre than your typical spy adventure, it has its roots in making at least two of the biggest spy franchises of the early 21st century. Specifically, Layer Cake is the movie that literally got Daniel Craig the gig as James Bond, while it was the directorial debut of producer Matthew Vaughn, who would go on to helm the Kingsman movies. Suffice to say, this Guy Ritchie-esque movie has certainly gone a long way towards influencing the spy movies we see at the multiplex today. That’s certainly not an accident. If you’re waiting eagerly for either The King’s Man, No Time To Die, or both, you should throw Layer Cake on to help you ease the wait for those films. Watch it here.

These are only a mere few of the spy movies currently made available on Netflix. Some of them are more serious than others, certainly. And a few of them are geared more towards younger audiences, while others are decidedly much more adult in their thematic material. Nevertheless, we hope we provided a wide, yet equally narrow, array of titles to choose from based on your personal preferences. Whatever you’re looking forward, you should hopefully find from our selections listed above. Let us know what you think of these titles. Also, be sure to name your favorite spy movies available on Netflix below. Maybe we didn’t look for all the proper clues and missed a few worth considering? If that’s the case, let us know what should be added.

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10 Highest-Grossing Dwayne Johnson Movies

Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper

Dwayne Johnson’s professional career has come a long way from his heyday as WWE superstar The Rock. He already had fans who adored him, but now he has even more of a dedicated fanbase. Johnson began building his movie career in 2001 with The Mummy Returns, and nearly 20 years later, he has appeared in over 40 studio films and has become one of the highest-grossing actors around the world. His films’ box office successes have made him a bona fide movie star.

The movies starring the actor occassionally known as The Rock have grossed billions of dollars worldwide, which usually leads to sequels and spin-off movies. Dwayne Johnson’s action-hero status turned him into someone that studios can count on to help launch or revamp a franchise. With so many successful projects is his past, it’s easy to wonder which of his box office hits actually achieved the most financial success. So let’s go down the list of his top ten.

Dwayne Johnson in Rampage

10. Rampage ($428 Million)

In the 2018 action-adventure Rampage, Dwayne Johnson plays primatologist Davis Okoye, who teams teams up with George, an intelligent gorilla that he cared for since birth, to stop a wolf named Ralph and a crocodile named Lizzie. An experiment gone wrong turns all three creatures into gigantic versions of themselves. As Lizzie and Ralph wreak havoc, Okoye and Georgie team with the military and a genetic engineer to try to stop the destruction and save Chicago.

Rampage marked the third pairing of Johnson and director Brad Peyton. Dwayne Johnson and Peyton had already achieved two box office successes prior to rampage. Their first film together, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, grossed over $335 million worldwide, and their second film, San Andreas, shows up later on this list. Peyton and Johnson have proved that they’re a winning combo for studios, but monster films, especially those involving King Kong like creatures, have also historically been proven as box office success.

The Rock in The Mummy Returns

9. The Mummy Returns ($443 Million)

The Mummy Returns marked Dwayne Johnson’s first acting role in a featured film. In it, he plays the Scorpion King, a ruler who sells his soul to Anubis, the God of death, in order to defeat his enemies. The Scorpion King faces off against Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who has returned to try to take control over Anubis’ army of the dead. The Mummy uses the O’Connell family as pawns in this battle. The Mummy Returns is the sequel to Brendan Fraser’s surprise hit, 1999’s The Mummy.

The original The Mummy film had already earned the franchise $415 million worldwide, so of course Universal Pictures wanted to capitalize on its success. The Mummy Returns went bigger and bolder, and adding The Rock made fans of The Mummy even more excited to see what the wrestler could bring to the acting world. The success of The Mummy Returns resulted in Dwayne Johnson getting his own spin-off film, The Scorpion King, which unfortunately wasn’t as big of a financial success as the three original Mummy movies.

The Rock in San Andreas

8. San Andreas ($473 Million)

Director Brad Peyton and Dwayne Johnson paired up again for this disaster action film San Andreas. San Andreas follows LAFD search and rescue helicopter pilot Raymond Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) through Los Angeles and San Francisco as he tries to navigate the destruction caused by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake. His main mission is to bring his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) to safety.

Moviegoers love big and explosive action films, especially during the summer, and even more so with big destruction sequences involving The Rock. San Andreas became one of Warner Bros. Pictures biggest box office successes as one of their highest-grossing films of 2015. The success of San Andreas led to a sequel being in the works, though nothing has come of it yet.

Dwayne Johnson in Fast and Furious 5

7. Fast Five ($626 Million)

Fast Five follows franchise regulars Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), and Han Lue (Sung Kang) as they try to steal $100 million from Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). While planning and trying to execute the heist, U.S Diplomatic Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) plans to take them down and arrest the team. Fast Five marked Johnson’s debut into the franchise.

Before Johnson joined the crew, The Fast and The Furious franchise was already four-films strong. The first Fast and The Furious film made over $207 million worldwide, and the three following films continued to grow the series’ box office numbers, with a slight dip with Fast Furious: Tokyo Drift. The fourth film, Fast & Furious, earned the franchise over $360 million worldwide. Despite the gradual global success of The Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast Five is when the series grew to a massive commercial success, gaining nearly $300 million more than the previous film. The Fast and Furious films have continued to gain box office success, possibly leading to unlimited sequels.

Dwayne Johnson in Moana

6. Moana ($643 Million)

In Disney’s animated hit Moana, Dwayne Johnson plays Maui, a shapeshifting demigod. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is a young girl who leaves her island to restore the natural order and save her people. She finds Maui and he guides her along her journey.

As a Disney production film, Moana seemed destined to be a box office success. However, the film exceeded expectations and became one of Disney’s biggest animated hits. During the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, Moana gained over $82 million in North America, making it the 7th biggest Thanksgiving opening of all-time, and the $643 million total is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in Hobbs and Shaw

5. Hobbs & Shaw ($758 Million)

Hobbs & Shaw is the first spin-off series from The Fast and The Furious franchise. It follows Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as they reprise their roles of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. In Hobbs & Shaw, the titular badasses become an unlikely and unwilling duo when they must team up to stop a genetically modified terrorist, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba). Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Vanessa Kirby, and Cliff Curtis also star.

The Fast and Furious franchise already proved that it had massive box office appeal by the time Universal Pictures released Hobbs & Shaw, but all those action movie fans were definitely just as excited to watch Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson team up in this stand-alone offshoot.

Dwayne Johnson in Fast and Furious 6

4. Fast And Furious 6 ($788 Million)

Dwayne Johnson returned to the Fast and Furious franchise in this sixth installment. In Fast and Furious 6, DSS agent Luke Hobbs seeks help from Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), and their crew. He offers them amnesty in exchange for them helping him stop Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), the leader of a mercenaries group who plans to steal high-tech devices and sell them on the black market.

Fast and Furious 6 became the second highest grossing film in the Fast and Furious franchise. It gained most of its initial box office success during Memorial Day weekend of 2013. This gave Furious 6 the fourth biggest Memorial Day weekend opening of all-time, and it topped out just under $800 million.

Dwayne Johnson in Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

3. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ($962 Million)

Dwayne Johnson joins Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas in this reboot of the 1995 Jumanji. In Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, the four stars play avatar characters for their teen counterparts within an old video game that they get trapped inside once they start to play it. The teens must reach the end to escape Jumanji.

The popularity of Robin William’s Jumanji definitely helped the star power of Jonas, Black, Hart, Gillan, and Johnson in turning Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle into a hit, and it helped that Sony Pictures released it as a holiday action film. Overall Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle received very favorable reviews, which helped spark more public interest and led to it staying at the top of the box office for four consecutive weeks. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became one of Sony Pictures’ highest grossing films of all-time, only falling third to Spiderman: Far From Home and Skyfall.

Dwayne Johnson in The Fate of the Furious

2. The Fate Of The Furious ($1.2 Billion)

The Fate of the Furious, also known as Fast and Furious 8, follows Dominic Toretto (Diesel) as he’s pulled back into a life of crime by cyberterrorist Cipher played by Charlize Theron. It’s the second film in the franchise to not include Paul Walker, who tragically died before filming was complete on Fast and Furious 7. It was also the third Fast and Furious film to not include Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto. In The Fate of the Furious, Dwayne Johnson reprises his role as Luke Hobbs, who once again joins the team to help save Dom.

Upon the films’ release, The Fate of the Furious broke numerous box office records, including becoming the biggest global opening until Avengers: Infinity War (which was then beat by Avengers: Endgame). By the release of The Fate of the Furious, the Fast and Furious franchise had become a global success that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Dwayne Johnson in Furious 7

1. Furious 7 ($1.5 Billion)

In Furious 7, after receiving amnesty for helping DSS Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in Fast and Furious 6, Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and crew try to retire. However, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) wants revenge after they put his brother Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) in a coma during the previous film.

When Furious 7 was released, the franchise had amassed huge global box office gains, with the two previous Fast and Furious films grossing over $600 million worldwide each. Fast and Furious found its global fanbase, but this one was even more special to the series as it marked the end of Paul Walker’s involvement in Fast and Furious, and it acted as sort of a goodbye and tribute to the actor.

Dwayne Johnson hopes to achieve another massive blockbuster hit this December with the release of Jumanji: The Next Level. He also has a few upcoming projects that have massive block office appeal, like DC Comics’ Black Adam. With a strong action portfolio, and more high profile projects coming, Dwayne Johnson will continue to dominate the box office for years to come.

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Marvel’s The Eternals Reveals First Footage In Brazil, Teasing Major Change For MCU

Earlier this week, Marvel fans were given the first official look at the first entry into the universe’s upcoming Phase Four with a trailer for Black Widow. And at Brazil’s comic con, Kevin Feige has now showed off the first-ever footage of next year’s Eternals. The Marvel chief announced to the excitable crowd that it wouldn’t be released to the public “for months” but it seemed to impress the lucky eyes who caught the presentation.

At the Marvel presentation in Sao Paulo, Kevin Feige took the stage to talk more about the highly-anticipated Phase Four to be kicked off in summer 2020. He shocked the crowd with raw footage straight from the set of Eternals, recently in production over the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Feige said the clips were pulled straight from the cameras to be at the panel and the epic is “going to change the MCU in Phase 4”!

The Eternals footage opened with Barry Keoghan’s Druig bringing some of the characters — including Richard Madden’s Ikaris, Angelina Jolie’s Thena, Gemma Chan’s Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo, Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, and Lia McHugh’s Sprite — to a ranch or cabin in the woods. Druig tells the crew of Eternals to “Make yourselves to home,” per Deadline.

The presentations then moved to showing brief looks at various scenes featuring members in The Eternals in different settings around the world. A few insights include Kumail Nanjiani’s character in a Bollywood-type scene, a blonde and badass Angelina Jolie taking part in an action scene, and a romance blossoming between Richard Madden and Gemma Chan’s Eternals.

The footage ended with Salma Hayek’s character Ajak saying, “This world has changed us. We must protect it.” What was shown doesn’t give particular context to the plot of the film, but those in attendance were impressed by what they experienced at the panel. Steven Weintraub of Collider said this:

While at the comic convention, Kevin Feige also announced Eternals’ story will take place across 7,000 years and will show the Celestials in their “full, true enormous power.” The Marvel boss did tell fans that the Deviants will look “very different” than originally portrayed in the comics.

Kevin Feige also showed an extended look of Black Widow when Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha sits down with her “sister” Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Alexei/Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz). The Marvel chief teased how the movie “sets up the future of the MCU” as well as exploring the Avengers’ past.

Is Captain America Star-Lord’s Grandfather? MCU Fans Revive Theory, And James Gunn Might Agree

So, there’s three MCU actors named Chris and they share enough of a likeness to be stopped on the street under their costar’s names. But what if a couple of them were actually relatives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Some fans theorize Chris Evans’ Captain America is the biological grandfather of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Sorry, Hemsworth! Should have gone for the head.

The MCU theory first surfaced when fans noticed that the same actress who plays Meredith Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy films also briefly shows up in 2011’s Captain America: the First Avenger. In Laura Haddock’s other MCU appearance, she meets eyes with Steve Rogers during his grand tour across the U.S. to perform on behalf of the war effort.

Because the universe has been so carefully crafted over the decade, one Reddit user believes the repeat casting to be on purpose, too. The Marvel fan recently theorized Steve and the woman had a one-night stand back in the ‘40s and she must have become pregnant. Which would make Peter Quill a relative of the first Avenger and super soldier! The timeline may check out, too. If Meredith was born in the ‘40s, she’d be in her 30s in the ’70s when she meets Kurt Russell’s Ego, as she appears to be in the second Guardians movie’s flashbacks.

Last year, the theory was brought to James Gunn’s attention on Twitter, too. Check out his response:

Okay, so it seems like the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker is taking the theory pretty lightly. He throws out the theory but he also says he “just made it up”… so that doesn’t help bring weight to it. But, Meredith Quill could very well have a mom who loved a hunky Star Spangled Man during the war. Steve Rogers having a one-night stand on the other hand does feel a bit out a character.

I mean… the guy couldn’t even set up a date with Peggy Carter until he was about to crash into some ice. Yet, the Reddit user believes that because Cap was gaining some celebrity during the tour, he may have just gone for it with the blonde beauty. The fan also points to a scene where Peggy shoots at him to test the shield as an act of jealousy from seeing other women.

The fact that Star-Lord is the only one of Ego’s children out of millions who has the inner light is also something that has convinced some fans that he could be related to Captain America. Yet, as explained in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this was because Quill was older when he was brought in by Ego.

What do you think about this theory? Could Captain America be Star-Lord’s grandfather? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll below!

Do you think Star-Lord’s grandpa is Captain America

Sam Mendes Explains Why 1917 Needed To Feel Like One Long Shot

If you’ve heard of 1917, chances are you’ve also heard that it’s a 2-hour long film that appears to play out over one continuous shot. The headline-grabbing filmmaking technique has been at the center of the conversation about Sam Mendes’ World War I film. And ahead of its release, the director has spoken out about why he made that unique narrative choice.

The one-shot technique has been a part of 1917 since its inception. And though it has the potential to feel like a marketing gimmick, Sam Mendes explained to Variety that he viewed it as an essential part of telling the film’s story effectively:

1917 is partially based on Sam Mendes’ grandfather’s experience during World War I. It follows two young British soldiers as they cross enemy lines, and face relentless danger, to deliver news about an incoming ambush. During their journey, they are exposed to the dangers and the destruction wrought during and immediately after Operation Alberich.

Keeping the viewer continuously in the moment definitely helps sustain the unique tension that comes from being in combat. And it presented a unique challenge for both Sam Mendes and the film’s legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, who created the one-shot effect by combining long takes with intricate moving camera shots:

Though at times frustrating, Sam Mendes’ approach to 1917 gives viewers an idea of what life must have been like on the World War I front lines. The Great War rarely gets the cinematic treatment, so this intimate glimpse into harrowing conditions that soldiers faced is notable. The dedication to realism also drove the director’s decision to cast two relatively unknown actors as the leads. He told Variety that if he’d had A-list actors play the main characters, viewers would automatically assume they will survive, and become less engaged in the film’s outcome.

Sam Mendes’ methodical approach to bringing 1917 to the screen wasn’t for nothing. The film is bringing the director some of the best reviews of his career, and inspiring some Oscar buzz. 1917 begins a limited theatrical release on December 25.

DC’s Black Adam Aims To Be A New ‘Inventive’ Kind Of Comic Book Movie After Joker

It will be a while before we will understand the full scope of Joker’s legacy. A grim departure from typical comic book movie fare, it’s proven that fans are willing to accept some pretty bold narrative choices when it comes to their favorite characters. And now elsewhere at DC films, the team behind Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam adaptation seems to see that as an opportunity to make their own film just as inventive.

DC Films has planned to bring Black Adam to the big screen for years, with Dwayne Johnson set to star as the titular anti-hero. Earlier this year, director Jaume Collet-Serra joined the team. And last month, the Black Adam team enlisted the help of Lawrence Sher, Joker’s cinematographer. After a recent screening of the surprise blockbuster, Black Adam’s new director of photography discussed how he thinks the team will approach the film’s aesthetic:

Joker is not the first comic book film to employ a grittier aesthetic. However, the film’s nihilistic themes are certainly rare to see in the genre. And the monumental success of the film, in part thanks to its irreverent tone, has certainly widened the spectrum for what narrative approach other filmmakers could take in the future. While a persuasive argument can be made that not every comic book movie needs to be dark-with-a-capital-D, Black Adam is a good candidate to push some boundaries.

Having Lawrence Sher on board will certainly help. The cinematographer played a crucial role in setting Joker’s distinctive tone. And since he’s fairly new to the comic book genre, he brings a fresh and unique perspective on how to bring these stories from page to screen.

Black Adam likely won’t be the only film to follow in Joker’s footsteps, either — especially since DC has announced it will be making more R-rated films. Matt Reeves has made what some consider to be unconventional casting choices for The Batman, particularly where that film’s hero is concerned. So there’s reason to believe it, too, could take some unexpected turns. And, of course, there’s the Joker sequel, which is sure to once again make us rethink the Clown Prince of Crime. Black Adam is due to begin filming in June of 2020.