Black Mask: Everything You Need To Know About The Birds Of Prey Villain

Birds Of Prey has supposedly nailed down its villain, and rumor has it that the DC adventure will put Ewan McGregor in the shoes of iconic Batman rogue Black Mask. We don’t blame anyone scratching their heads. After all, it’s hard to keep tabs on every Batman villain with so many re-imaginings of the Joker happening. For those that are a bit out of the loop on what this villain is all about, here are some important details.

He’s Been One Of Gotham’s Most Powerful Crime Lords

While there are some inconsistencies between different iterations of Black Mask in the comics, his role as a powerful crime lord is often the same. We wouldn’t say he’s a level above guys like The Joker or Penguin, but he’s definitely one typically considered a colleague when those rogues get together. He’s a bit less for theatrics compared to the typical Batman villain, and more in line with mob boss types.

Black Mask is so good at the mob game that he once found himself in control of all the gangs in Gotham City. Suffice it to say that takes a special kind of person, and shows Black Mask is a guy who’s not only well connected, but someone capable of big things. If Black Mask is featured in Birds of Prey, it will be surprising if it’s in a role that doesn’t place him as one of Gotham’s big crime figures.

Sometimes His Mask Is Symbolic

In the original introduction of Black Mask, Roman Sionis’ mask was symbolic. Sionis was born to parents who were incredibly wealthy, but self-absorbed and generally shitty people. For example, the couple covered up an incident where he was dropped on his head after birth, as well as an incident where he was attacked by a rabid raccoon in his yard. Their reason? They didn’t want the incidents embarrassing them and making them look bad.

Roman Sionis grew to hate his parents and especially disliked how they were so concerned over their social standing that they put it above many things in life. In short, they wore “masks” to hide their true selves in public, which is why he wears a mask. By the way, Sionis murdered his parents and ended up using his father’s shattered casket (which he destroyed) to create the mask he wears.

Sometimes The Mask Has Abilities

Other incarnations of Black Mask have made his headgear a bit more useful and grant him a unique ability. The mask has hypnotic properties and allows the villain to assume direct control over henchmen that are also wearing a special mask. That’s a particularly useful trait to have when trying to organize a plan, as one wouldn’t have to worry about getting everyone on the same page if he’s already in their heads.

Beyond the mask he wears, Black Mask has also been known to utilize masks to kill his enemies. He does this by placing masks filled with toxins over their faces, which cause the victim’s face to shrivel and turn black. Killing is one thing, but the added desecration is the type of calling card of a villain who truly has a screw loose.

He’s A Sadistic Psychopath

All Batman villains can be pretty cruel, but Black Mask is a pretty brutal individual. One doesn’t gain control of the Gotham City crime families by being gentle, of course, but we’re sure some of his methods of torture have even made some lesser Batman rogues cringe in private. No one knows that better than Catwoman, who had her life turned upside down by Black Mask when she interfered in his drug-trafficking operation.

Roman Sionis soon made a point to find out Catwoman’s real identity, and when he did, he kidnapped her sister and brother-in-law. Black Mask then tortured her brother-in-law to death with power tools and forced her sister to eat bits of his remains. That’s pretty insane, although par for the course for a villain who’s set to headline the R-rated Birds of Prey. Just knowing a scene like that could happen in an upcoming superhero film gives us chills.

He Was Referenced In Justice League

Justice League had a couple Batman references sprinkled throughout, and one of them indirectly mentioned Black Mask. For those that missed it, a sign with the name “Janus” on it was seen when Batman was battling one of Steppenwolf’s Parademons. The sign now appears to be a reference to Janus Cosmetics, which was the company the Sionis family owned and gained their wealth from.

If this is indeed the case, it will confirm that at least part of Roman Sionis’ origin story will be intact. In the comics, Roman eventually took control of Janus, but drove the company under after a bad bet on a line of face paint. Desperate to turn things around, Roman ordered a bunch of untested products were rushed to market. The decision led hundreds of disfigured women, and his childhood friend Bruce Wayne offering to buy him out of the disaster.

The False Face Society

The False Face Society is the defacto group that surrounds Black Mask and his operations. They’re not unlike the minions of most major Batman villains, except their uniforms consist of the multitude of different masks Roman Sionis owned. Sionis banded these low-level thugs together, and they soon began to sweep through Gotham with increasingly high-profile crimes as they went.

The most interesting part about The False Face Society is that each member wore a distinctive mask. We’re obviously not sure if Birds of Prey will incorporate the same thing for its possible numerous henchman extras, but doing so would be a bit of flair that livens up the typical henchman look most superhero films have. Plus, different elaborate masks always open the door for pop culture references and easter eggs, so it would be cool if this was incorporated.

He’s More Than A Guy With A Mask

Some Batman villains are pretty deadly, but once they’re separated from their legions of goons, they’re relatively harmless. This isn’t the case with Black Mask, as breaking through his crew only leads to a fight that could give heroes a run for their money. Black Mask has an impressively high tolerance for pain and is skilled enough in hand-to-hand combat to hold his own against even the likes of Batman.

Black Mask’s also pretty good with guns and is known to carry two automatic pistols, but he is proficient with many types of weapons. When the going gets tough, he’s more than capable of escaping, and is a noted escape artist and impersonator when the situation calls for it. Basically, Black Mask’s going to be a tough customer, and it’s probably going to take all of the Birds of Prey to bring him down.

DC’s presently named Birds of Prey movie is set to premiere on February 7, 2020. While we wait to see if confirmation comes from this latest casting, check out who the film found to portray its Renee Montoya.

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Nintendo Switch: A Newbie’s Guide

The Nintendo Switch is a runaway success thanks to its inventive design and impressive roster of diverse games. If you’re looking to pick one up, we’ve got some tips to help get you started.

When the Nintendo Switch launched, critics and fans alike were impressed by its versatility. The console is cleverly designed, allowing players to enjoy games on the go in handheld mode or drop it into the dock to keep playing on the big screen. Backed by an ever-growing collection of games from every genre imaginable, it’s no wonder the console became an instant success.

If you’re looking to pick one up, this handy guide should have you ready to roll in no time!

What Are The Cost And Accessories For The Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch itself will set you back $299.99, but there are a few accessories we’d recommend you at least consider picking up alongside the console.

Whether you plan on buying physical games or going strictly digital, something you’ll want to have handy from day one is a microSD card. One of the Switch’s only major design flaws is that it doesn’t have much on-board hard drive space. The roughly 30GB of space available will fill up quickly, even if you aren’t buying a bunch of digital games. Thankfully, Switch games are nowhere near as massive as on other platforms, so you won’t need to go overboard here. You can pick up a 128GB microSD card for about 40 bucks, and we recommend you get one that’s at least that big and have it ready to go right when you purchase the console. You can go bigger, obviously, but only if you expect to download a bunch of games.

Otherwise, if you’re planning on playing the console with friends, you might want to consider grabbing an extra controller at some point. Another set of Joy-Cons will set you back $80, but we’d recommend you get a Switch Pro controller for $70 instead. The Pro controller is more like a standard game console controller and, combined with the Joy-Cons that you already get with the Switch, the Pro will give you yet another way to enjoy your games.

Finally, we’d recommend picking up a carrying case as soon as possible. The Switch can be played as a portable game console, after all, so you’ll want to keep it safe while traveling. The good news is that a sturdy case will only set you back about $20.

Nintendo Switch Online

If you don’t plan on ever playing Nintendo Switch games online, then you can probably skip a subscription to the Nintendo Switch’s online service. Then again, it offers a handful of other perks that you might consider worth the additional investment. On top of online gaming, a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online allows you to back up your saves to cloud storage, grants access to the Switch’s mobile app and subscribers will occasionally gain access to exclusive offers and discounts. Another great perk is access to NES-Nintendo Switch Online, a collection of classic NES games (Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Dr. Mario, etc.) that you can play as much as you want so long as you’re a subscriber.

You can purchase a subscription through the Switch’s online store, accessed directly from the console or online. A one-month subscription will set you back $3.99, while three months costs $7.99. You could also just buy an annual subscription for $19.99. Finally, there’s a family plan, which cost $34.99 and supports up to eight consoles in a household.

Getting Started On The Nintendo Switch

Once you’ve got your Switch out of the box and charged, it’s time to dive into its various features. The good news is that setting up the console is super easy, since a series of menus will guide you through the process. This includes everything from creating a Nintendo account to connecting to the internet and activating parental controls. Everything can be tweaked in the options menu after setup, so don’t fret if you decide you want to change something after the initial setup.

Another plus for the Switch is that the console is very streamlined. Rather than plug in a bunch of extra bells and whistles, the Switch’s menu is a pretty elegant collection of just a few icons. Your games will take center stage and, just under that, you’ll find access to things like the Nintendo eShop, a place to check out your captured images and videos, power options and, of course, settings.

Getting Friendly With The Nintendo Switch

It can be easy to miss, but you’ll access your own profile simply by clicking the icon at the top left of the screen. From here, you’ll be able to see how long you’ve been playing your individual games and manage your friends list. The Switch offers some help in filling out that friends list with the ability to search your known contacts. If you link your Switch to your Facebook account, the console can automatically suggest friends from your existing list of pals through the social network. Similarly, if your account is also tied to a Nintendo 3DS, or perhaps a Nintendo mobile game, you can search to find out if any of your friends from those platforms also own a Switch. Send them an invite and, as soon as they accept it, you’ll be friends.

Sharing The Fun

While the Switch features a bunch of buttons and inputs you’re likely familiar with at this point, there’s a button on the left Joy-con that’s new to the console. It’s a square button with a circle on it, which just so happens to be how you access the console’s Capture features. The Nintendo Switch allows players to more easily save and share their special moments in-game, which is where this feature comes in handy. While you’re playing, you can simply press the Capture button to take a picture of whatever is being displayed on the screen at that moment. If you hold the button for a bit, it will instead save a recording of the past 30 seconds of gameplay.

From the main menu, if you click on the Gallery icon at the bottom of the screen, you can check out your captured images and videos, edit them and, if you’ve linked your console to Facebook or Twitter, share them to social media.

Play Games With Your Nintendo Switch

Now that you’ve got your Switch set up, it’s time to actually play some games. The good news is that the console already has an impressive library of titles, with games coming from every genre imaginable. If you like epic adventures, you might want to check out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Prefer jumping around bright and colorful worlds as a mustachioed plumber? Then maybe you’ll want to give Super Mario Odyssey a spin.

The Switch is also home to a veritable ocean of smaller games that are much easier on the wallet. We’d recommend diving into the eShop and starting to poke around to see what catches your attention. The Switch’s virtual storefront includes easy access to a list of the latest game releases, featured titles and top-selling games. There’s also an option to simply view games on sale, in case you’re looking to save a few bucks. Finally, the search feature lets you locate games based on a wide array of criteria, so be sure to give it a gander if you’re looking for something in particular. The search tab is also where you’ll be able to peruse games that have demos available, which you can download and take for a spin before committing to a purchase.

And if you’re looking for some of our top recommendations, you’ll find them below.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

If you’re looking for classic Nintendo adventuring on the go or from the comfort of your couch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild should be the first game you pick up for the Switch. It’s absolutely massive and evolves the series in fun and unexpected ways. It also won about a million Game of the Year awards in 2017, so you know you’re in for a treat.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario’s biggest and most diverse adventure to date, Super Mario Odyssey is packed with fun and lively worlds to explore and secrets hidden around every corner. There’s plenty here to enjoy if you just want to run and jump around, with even more adventures waiting for dedicated gamers who want to keep on digging. The core objectives are light and family friendly, with plenty of extra challenges bolted on for those who want to put their platforming skills to the test.

Splatoon 2

It turns out that Nintendo can make any genre PG, including third-person shooters. Like everything else Nintendo does, Splatoon 2 is all about having fun in lively worlds full of vivid colors. Whether you like to play competitively, join friends in cooperative missions or tackle a bunch of single player challenges, Splatoon 2 will put your trigger finger to the test in an adventure that trades bullets for splashes of paint.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The best Mario Kart game is made even better on the Switch with beautiful graphics, a huge number of tracks to race on and additional game modes that let you challenge your friends or online opponents. With plenty of unlockables and fun competitive modes to explore, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will have everyone begging for “just one more race.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

If you’re looking for a game to put on your wish list, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is due out in December and promises to up the ante by a sound degree. The roster of characters in this fast and frantic brawler totals nearly 80, with levels, music and assist characters pulled from throughout Nintendo’s history. Developed to be the ultimate Smash Bros. fighting experience, this game will likely be a party favorite for years to come.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Could Bring Companion Games Back As Well

The release of Final Fantasy VII Remake is still a ways off, but director and producer Tetsuya Nomura is already talking about the potential of bringing back the companion games that launched as spin-offs of the main Final Fantasy VII story.

Gematsu is reporting that, during the The World Ends With You: Final Remix closed event that took place back on October 30th, Nomura took a couple of fan questions, one of which was centered around Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. Nomura didn’t just address that particular game, but talked about the entire anthology of companion properties based on Final Fantasy VII, saying…

To put this into context, Nomura is also directing Kingdom Hearts III for Square Enix, in addition to working on Final Fantasy VII. The current development schedule sees Nomura putting Kingdom Hearts III at the top of the priority list, with the game scheduled to release at the end of January in 2019 for the Xbox One and PS4. Once the game is up and out then Nomura will return to work on Final Fantasy VII Remake.

The remake was announced back in 2015, and has been moving very slowly through development since then. It likely won’t be complete until 2020 or 2021. However, it’s interesting that he’s actually considering something that could be done surrounding the compilation properties for Final Fantasy VII.

As explained by Getmasu, these are the projects that released after the initial game came out for PC and the PSX, such as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the very popular but story-opaque Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which was actually a CGI companion story that followed up on the events that took place after the initial story in VII concluded. It was Square’s big return to CGI movies after The Spirits Within failed to gather an audience at the box office when it released during the turn of the century.

Given that Square has become a lot more comfortable with companion properties releasing alongside games, I can definitely see a UHD remaster of Advent Children making its way onto the market as a companion release alongside Final Fantasy VII Remake.

As for the PSP release of Crisis Core, or the PS2 outing of Dirge of Cerberus, those remain up in the air, but we’ll see if Nomura will tackle them depending on if the remake sells well. Given that Final Fantasy is still extremely popular, it’s completely possible that maybe Square Enix will tackle the other games.

For now we have to look forward to Kingdom Hearts III coming out in January, and then it’s back to the waiting game for Final Fantasy VII Remake to make its way to home consoles.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Removes The 9-Bang Grenade Everybody Hates

Maintaining a fine balance of operation for highly popular first-person shooters, or heck, any competitive multiplayer game, is a task that many probably would never want to take on. However, Treyarch made Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and so the company must maintain that content equilibrium, and part of that includes removing the 9-Bang grenade that everybody hates.

Over on the Black Ops 4 sub-reddit, Treyarch unloaded the changelog for the latest update to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. One of the most significant changes that arrived in the update was the removal of the 9-Bang grenade from the Battle Royale mode known as Blackout.

According to the changelog, the change came as the developers decided to reevaluate the grenade’s place within the mode, and where it fits within Black Ops 4′s gameplay loop.

The grenade was not missed by various members of the Call of Duty community.

As you can see, there was no love lost on social media for the 9-Bang grenade being temporarily removed from the gameplay loop of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Popular streamer Tim Havlock waved it off in a tweet.

Others casually noted that the grenade was simply way too over-powered for what it was intended to do. They did not lament nor shed any tears for Treyarch deciding to temporarily disable the grenade from being used in the very popular Battle Royale mode.

One user stated that it was simply too overpowered and deserved to get the axe.

You don’t have to look far to see how the 9-Bang can be used in ways that some felt were exploitative. There are plenty of videos up on YouTube right now showcasing the 9-Bang being tossed down and basically blinding the opponent long enough for them to get put down.

The issue, however, isn’t just that the 9-Bang blinds opponents due to its concussive force, it’s that the range is rather significant, so much so that even if you toss the grenade a few meters out from where the opponent is standing, they’ll still get affected by it in a significant way.

It’s interesting because, in the changelog, Treyarch actually increased the grenade count for the concussion grenade and increased the throwing distance as well. So, while the 9-Bang may have been removed for the time being, the concussion grenades got a little bit of a buff.

The developers made a bunch of other changes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as well, including a number of new additions to the playlist updates, and several tweaks to the gameplay balance across the PvP and the Zombies modes, this includes squashing a UI bug, fixing a few crashes in the Zombies maps, and adding a bunch of new storyline characters to the character missions. The update is available right now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One gamers. There’s no ETA on if or when the 9-Bang grenade will make a return to the Blackout mode.

Bryan Cranston Responds To Breaking Bad Movie News

Breaking Bad came to an end back in 2013 with a finale that closed the door on Walter White’s journey from unassuming chemistry teacher to meth kingpin. For a long time, it seemed that the only way the show would continue in any way, shape, or form would be via the Better Call Saul spinoff. News recently broke that Breaking Bad is getting a movie, and original series star Bryan Cranston has responded to the announcement of the movie, saying this:

Somehow, the Breaking Bad movie feels all the more real for having been confirmed by Bryan Cranston. He didn’t give away a whole lot in the way of details regarding the project, and the fact that he hasn’t read a script for the movie indicates that he couldn’t give away tons of plot details even if he felt so inclined. His comments even give reason to doubt that the Breaking Bad movie will feature Walter White at all.

Once upon a time, a Breaking Bad project without Bryan Cranston would have seemed inconceivable. The drama probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did or earned the pop culture legacy it did without Cranston as leading man. The success of Better Call Saul, however, proves that there is an audience for projects set in the Breaking Bad universe, with or without Walter.

Whether or not the movie includes Walter likely depends on the timeframe and the main characters. If the project is set after the conclusion of Breaking Bad, Walter could really only show up via flashbacks, hallucination, or dream sequences considering his ending on the show. If set during Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston could simply play a Walter White still in his rise and fall as Heisenberg.

Bryan Cranston may not look exactly as he did in the original run of the series, but who’s to say that he couldn’t pull it off if he shaves his head and maybe adds the Heisenberg hat? Of course, the presence of Walter White also depends on whether or not Cranston would be open to reprising his most iconic role. Cranston shared whether he would play Walt again in his chat with The Dan Patrick Show:

It’s not altogether surprising that Bryan Cranston would be on board with reprising his role as Walter White. He (and Aaron Paul) have said before that they’d appear on Better Call Saul if Vince Gilligan called them up and said he’d found the right story. If Vince Gilligan calls Cranston up for the Breaking Bad movie, Cranston would apparently be game!

That said, if the movie does indeed focus on characters with incomplete journeys from Breaking Bad, that likely means that Walter White won’t be the star. Perhaps Jesse Pinkman could be the leading man. There’s no word at this point if Aaron Paul is attached to the movie, but his character’s journey is arguably incomplete. Although he technically did escape his captivity by neo-Nazis, he was last seen driving hysterically in the opposite direction from the dying Walter. What happened next?

Aaron Paul did just land a role on Westworld, so he might be busy with another small screen project for the foreseeable future. Only time will tell. Breaking Bad isn’t the only successful AMC show to score an order for a movie, so it should be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a trend. If you’re now in the mood to relive the glory days of Breaking Bad and/or the first few seasons of Better Call Saul, check out Netflix!

The Grinch Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Whether you’re a fan of original book, the 1966 animated TV special or the 2000 live action movie, the How The Grinch Stole Christmas! story has been a Christmas staple for decades. The latest adaptation, titled Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, puts Dr. Seuss’ creation through a computer animated lens from the folks at Illumination Entertainment. With The Grinch finally arriving in theaters this weekend (it was originally supposed to come last year), reviews for the movie are now pouring in, and while it doesn’t sound like it will become the most cherished of Christmas movies, there’s still a fair amount from it to enjoy.

Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Dirk Libbey awarded The Grinch 3.5 out of 5 stars in his review, noting that while it won’t become the definitive version of the story,” it’s a much better cinematic out than the Jim Carrey-led Grinch movie from nearly two decades ago. Dirk also mentioned that although seeing the familiar Grinch elements in this movie will just remind you that they’ve been handled better before in a much shorter run time, the new material, such as the side plot of Cindy Lou Who trying to capture Santa Claus for her mother and the Grinch’s (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) new backstory, actually elevates The Grinch.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch may not be the best version of this story ever told, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a warm and fun story that has enough warmth and charm to be exactly what many families will be looking for during the holiday season.

Empire Magazine‘s Amy West had similar feelings about The Grinch in her review, giving it 3 out of 5 stars. In Amy’s opinion, in its efforts to be a child-friendly movie, The Grinch ends up being a “a safe and often sickeningly sweet film” that’s more concerned with the ‘Christmas is about being with loved ones, not presents’ message than adding anything new to the story. That said, it does help that The Grinch boasts some clever visual gags.

Despite its story-telling ambition being two sizes too small (much like its hairy protagonist’s heart), The Grinch is impossibly cute, visually rich and boasts enough festive fun to satisfy young viewers.

Collider‘s Matt Goldberg wasn’t quite as kind to The Grinch in his review. Giving it a C grade, Goldberg states that the movie, like Illumination’s previous movies, doesn’t rise above mediocrity, preferring to highlight antics and gags over an emotional story, resulting in something that’s “safe and disposable.”

It’s not that The Grinch is an awful movie as much as it’s simply straining to fill time, and while there’s some creativity in the production design and Benedict Cumberbatch does some really good voice work, ultimately you can’t help but feel like this is a bauble designed to distract children for an hour and a half.

Michael Rechtshaffen from The Hollywood Reporter felt that The Grinch did a good job of resembling the original book and TV special than the live action movie did, and with the new elements (like making the eponymous character more complex and adding the reindeer Fred to accompany Grinch and his dog Max) and “visual energy,” particularly with the design of Whoville, there’s plenty to appreciate from this latest adaptation.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch is a vibrant, amusing CG animated feature that gives the big mean, green guy a kinder, gentler makeover.

Jesse Hassenger from The AV Club, on the other hand, gave The Grinch a C grade, calling it a “a more meager, timid iteration of Seuss’ story.” In Jesse’s opinion, the movie doesn’t do a good enough job registering Grinch as an outcast, instead coming across as “a sitcom’s cranky upstairs neighbor,” despite his new backstory.

Illumination’s focus on cartoon villainy should set it apart. But by this point, the filmmakers have softened the very concept of ‘bad’ into just another bowl of brightly colored sugary mush.

Birth.Movies.Death.‘s Michael Gingold also felt that The Grinch was an improvement over the live action movie, but ultimately the new attempt to rationalize the green-furred grump’s meanness still falls short. The visuals of The Grinch are top-notch, but the rest doesn’t compare to what we saw in the Boris Karloff-led animated special over 50 years ago.

The Grinch will no doubt provide a satisfying holiday diversion for family audiences, and little kids will probably dig it, but we older grinches who grew up on that TV version can only hope that someone doesn’t try yet another unnecessary movie 18 years from now.

Finally, The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde stated in his review that The Grinch is “bright, both in its color palette and in the wit and liveliness of the storytelling.” There are some missteps, to be sure, but it manages to expand the tale without taking away the charm of the original, and it shines best when its focus is on Whoville.

Purists may balk about revisiting this tale, but The Grinch earns its laughter and its sentiment, both of which are plentiful. It’s a full-throated Fah-Who-Foraze.

Christmas movies are often be hit or miss, and judging by these reviews for The Grinch (just some of many), it falls right in the middle. It won’t exceed the popularity of the original book or the TV program, and the efforts to stretch out the story to an 86-minute runtime may not necessarily be to your liking. But The Grinch also doesn’t sound remotely like a train wreck, and if you’re looking for a little holiday cheer on the big screen, this could be worth checking out. At the very least, The Grinch should entertain the young moviegoers like most of Illumination’s previous movies have.

You can judge The Grinch for yourself when it arrives this Friday, November 9, and be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. If you’re interested in learning what other movies are coming out before the year is over, head to our 2018 release schedule. Or you can get a head start on next year’s theatrical offerings with our 2019 release schedule.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s DLC Lineup Is Locked

Even though Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t out yet, it’s already on the receiving end of requests for DLC characters and guest spots for certain fan-favorites. The requests managed to reach creative director Sora Sakurai, who decided to respond to the fan feedback by explaining that requests don’t matter at this point because the DLC line-up is already locked into place.

The news comes courtesy of a tweet that Sakurai sent out on his official Twitter account on November 6th, 2018. He stated…

So, just to break this down and give gamers some context as to what he’s talking about, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s DLC line-up is already ironed out and complete. This doesn’t mean that the characters and content is complete, simply that Nintendo outlined specifically what it wanted in the upcoming fighting game for the Nintendo Switch.

Sakurai had no say-so in the selection process of DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The higher-ups at Nintendo were the ones making the decisions, and if the decisions fit with his design philosophy, then he would work with the Nintendo execs in coming up with a plan to get the content out in a timely manner.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out because the most likely result is that Nintendo has struck some deals with other companies in order to include DLC characters based on marketing appeal, much like how the company had Cloud from Final Fantasy VII included in the last Smash Bros. outing for the Wii U, or Ryu making an appearance from Street Fighter.

Some gamers are already making some pretty wild suggestions in Sakurai’s Twitter feed, even though he’s not the one in charge of putting together the DLC list of characters.

At the top of the tweet chain is one of the most highly requested characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate…. Goku from Dragon Ball Z.

Goku has been a highly requested character ever since Arc System Works and Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ came out at the beginning of the year.

Others were adamant about getting Sakurai’s attention by posting images of Banjo Kazooie, but since it’s owned by Rare and Rare is owned by Microsoft, Nintendo would have to go to Microsoft’s doorstep to get permission, and I doubt that would happen.

A few people were hoping for characters like Rayman to make an appearance, while several others began asking for more Nintendo-centric characters, such as the crew from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which came out just last year for the Nintendo Switch.

Right now, Nintendo is being tight-lipped about who is going to appear as DLC, but the starting line-up of characters is already super massive in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s a wild guess as to who will make the cut next, and from which franchise.

Why A Shrek Reboot Is A Great Idea

‘Reboot’ has become such a divisive word in Hollywood, especially when it comes to classic franchises. Given this, it was probably of little surprise to anyone that when news broke about Shrek getting rebooted, many were quick to judge and may have “ogre”-reacted to the news. However, some may have missed the onion that this situation is, and when one pulls back the many layers that led to this decision, it becomes clear that this reboot is actually a good idea since it sounds like it wouldn’t fully wipe the slate clean.

It’s important to note that the current plan for Shrek doesn’t seem to be a full-scale reboot. Chris Meledandri has stated he’d like to keep Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and other members of the original cast all on board. That’s a big plus for those unwilling to accept another Shrek than Myers, even though he wasn’t the first option for the role to begin with.

The overall goal of this reboot, according to Meledandri, is to find a way to introduce this franchise to a new audience. That audience, of course, is not the folks who saw the first film in theaters back in 2001, but a new generation of children. To do this effectively, Chris Meledandri believes he needs to find a meaningful story to bring these characters into children’s lives and not just something that feels like, as he put it, “another sequel.”

Of course, some may think another sequel would be fine, especially considering Meledandri appears to want to retain the movies’s original cast. That makes sense until one takes into account 2010’s Shrek Forever After, and it’s possible the children of today (and even some Shrek fans) may not have seen the team go toe to toe with Rumpelstiltskin. It would probably even confuse adults who have seen it, as it’s not like it was the crown jewel of the franchise.

While this certainly isn’t the case for everybody, Rotten Tomatoes approval rating shows audiences, by and large, enjoy the Shrek franchise less and less as the franchise went on. Shrek and even Shrek 2 received solid praise from critics, but things took a sharp turn downward with Shrek The Third. Reception for Shrek Forever After was slightly better, but still nowhere close to the acclaim the first two films received.

Dreamworks seemed to know the franchise was done and promoted Shrek Forever After asThe Final Chapter.” Given that tagline, it doesn’t seem like the best decision to try and build off of a film series that was meant to end. Are audiences really that invested in what comes next in Shrek’s time as a father? Universal doesn’t seem to think so, which is probably why we heard last year Shrek 5 was going to be “way different.”

It may sound crazy, but Shrek could probably get its groove back using the same method Danny McBride and David Gordon Green used for Halloween. Start things back up after Shrek or Shrek 2, and pretend the rest didn’t happen. It would allow for a story that’s more an introduction to the main cast, without having to service the wilder characters the franchise brought in down the stretch.

Hell, even a straight-up retelling of the original story wouldn’t be so bad, and might even look better with modern CGI. Imagine the castle sequence with the dragon using today’s technology, or even that wrestling scene. Shrek still looks great for the time it was created, but with it having been so long since a new movie was made, it would be neat to see how the character could change with new tech.

Of course, none of these arguments do much of anything for those who don’t think Shrek should be rebooted, period. Some on Twitter have feared Chris Meledandri’s revision will turn the franchise into a twisted version similar to Despicable Me, or even Minions. Both of those films have their fans of course, but there’s a community who would rather not see a classic film from their childhood redone by the same people who created the irritating Minions.

It’s understandable, although on the same token, it’s possibly these internet fans and their bizarre love that may be what convinced Hollywood rebooting the character was the best option. Shrek has transformed into this weird thing on the internet over the years, with fans making memes with the character that have spread like wildfire. Those unaware of this trend may want to read up on “Shrek is love, Shrek is life”… or not if they don’t want to be scarred.

Beyond possibly erasing erotic fan-fiction, a Shrek reboot could finally give the band Smash Mouth peace. The rock group has also fallen victim to the Shrek fandom, and have been taunted on social media by those who believe their only fame came from their songs contributed to the film. Of course, the evidence against that is pretty easy to disprove, but that hasn’t stopped folks from hounding the group with jeers about how they peaked with Shrek.

Put simply, there’s a lot about the current state of Shrek that the internet may move on from once a reboot gets rolling. It could also have the reverse effect and create memes that are weirder than ever, which would be a win for those who enjoy internet drama. We’re hoping not, and that as plans continue to move forward, folks may see the light and realize that reboots, especially in this case, may not always be a bad thing.

Really, the most logical thing to do in this situation, as with most situations, is to wait and see what happens. The Shrek reboot may end up better than some may expect, or just as bad or worse than anyone could’ve imagined. We’re, of course, choosing to remain optimistic, and think there’s a lot of potential in a fresh set of eyes taking on the character, but we can only wait to see if that will be the case.

The Shrek reboot is currently in the works, and Puss In Boots is looking to get a reboot as well. Those bummed out about the news can, of course, still find physical copies of the film wherever they may be sold.

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Outlander’s Sam Heughan Missed Wearing A Kilt For Season 4

Outlander was once practically overflowing with Scottish Highlanders running around in kilts, but that hasn’t been the case since the Battle of Culloden saw the Highlanders massacred. Jamie hasn’t had the chance to wear his kilt much since the aftermath of Culloden, and the Season 4 premiere saw him spend the entire episode in pants. Pants rather than a kilt is going to be a theme for Jamie in Season 4.

While Sam Heughan admits that there’s a positive to wearing pants, he recently revealed to CinemaBlend and other outlets at an Outlander press junket that he missed the kilt. Here’s what Heughan had to say when asked if he missed the garment:

The upside of wearing pants for filming Outlander Season 4 is that Sam Heughan was able to stay warm with woolen undergarments, which likely wasn’t always possible with a kilt and bare legs. That’s not to say Jamie never strips down while out in the wilderness, as both he and Claire shed clothes to hook up in the woods of North Carolina. As one does. Still, the kilt is an important part of Jamie’s identity, and Heughan missed it for Jamie’s sake.

It’s not difficult to see where he’s coming from. Jamie was a proud Scotsman at the beginning of the series, and he was bound and determined to wear just the right kilt for his wedding to Claire. He didn’t hesitate to race into battle at Culloden despite knowing he’d likely die and his cause was doomed. The British did everything they could to strip the surviving Scots of their proud Scottish identities, and that included removing their right to wear their plaids.

Going to by Sam Heughan’s comments, we shouldn’t count on Jamie using his greater freedom in the American colonies to fold himself back into the kilt. He’ll be wearing pants for the foreseeable future. They may be more practical for the tasks ahead of him (and for any dealings with the Brits), but Jamie may not be the same without the kilt. Interestingly, Sam Heughan once shared the worst thing about wearing a kilt, although Caitriona Balfe made a good point about why the kilts are actually great for Outlander.

All of this said, viewers don’t have to expect kilts to be entirely absent from Outlander in Season 4. Sam Heughan went on to tease the presence of kilts and what Jamie someday wearing a kilt again could mean:

Fans who have kept up with the trailers released for Season 4 have known for a while that kilts will actually be very present in the 1960s storyline, as Roger can be seen dancing in one. Do Sam Heughan’s comments point toward other Scotsman in the American colonies wearing their kilts on a regular basis? We’ll have to wait and see.

Sam Heughan’s mention of saving the kilt for “a big occasion” is certainly interesting, although it sounds like that occasion may not come in Season 4. Book readers who are familiar with the plots of Drums of Autumn may be able to guess what Heughan is referring to, but only time will tell. The good news is that Outlander isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

For new episodes of Outlander Season 4, tune in to Starz on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET. The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been thanks to the introduction of Stephen Bonnet, and the action is only going to get more complicated as the season progresses.

Ranking The Hollywood Chrises Based On 2018

Unlike Ryan Reynolds, some of us are perfectly comfortable ranking the four main Hollywood Chrises. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine and Chris Pratt are all beloved superhero stars, but they have not had equally strong years. We all have our personal favorites — and for me it’s Pine all day, every day. But this particular ranking looks at which Chris is having the best 2018.

When it comes to film and TV projects, after Chris Pine’s Outlaw King hits Netflix this Friday, it looks like the Chrises are done giving us major content for the year. (Except for the Avengers 4 trailer, of course.) So it’s a fair time to rank the lads based on box office, critic/audience reactions, and also less concrete factors like social media use (or lack thereof).

1. Chris Hemsworth

Pluses: So many movies, great Super Bowl ad, biggest payday
Minuses: Not all films successful, Star Trek pay dispute

Yes, sweet rabbit, your new BFF is No. 1! Arguably the most naturally charming Chris, Australian Chris Hemsworth has been everywhere this year. Not all of his projects have been successful, but he gets points for stretching in so many directions.

Chris Hemsworth got on the big screen bright and early in January as lead Captain Mitch Nelson in 12 Strong. The war drama got mediocre reviews and didn’t exactly light the box office on fire, but at least it performed better commercially than Bad Times at the El Royale, which just came out in October. That one pretty much flopped, but got a better critical reception. But, of course, between those two films, Hemsworth had a huge role in the biggest movie of the year — Avengers: Infinity War. His role was larger than Chris Evans’ Captain America and more appreciated than Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Thor was both funny with his new pals “Rabbit” and “Tree,” and moving in his heartfelt speeches. Out of everyone, he might’ve had the best overall showcase.

Speaking of Thor, Thor: Ragnarok came out on DVD/Blu-ray in March, and Chris Hemsworth had some fun promoting that on social media, showing his kids watching the film. He always seems to be filming, so it’s not clear how he even makes time for his wife actress Elsa Pataky and their three children. But Hemsworth tends to show off everything on social media, and also keeps fans up-to-date when he’s filming other projects. Hemsworth and his Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson filmed the Men in Black spinoff MIB together, showing off photos along the way. Depending on your position, you might see MIB as a minus, but I’m going with a plus. Now he’s filming Dhaka from a screenplay by Avengers co-director Joe Russo, sharing more behind-the-scenes goodies.

Chris Hemsworth somehow even made time to film a mock movie trailer with Danny McBride, leaving us wishing Dundee: The Son of A Legend Returns Home wasn’t just an Australian tourism ad that played during the 2018 Super Bowl. Hemsworth also made the most money of the Chrises in the past year. Despite Chris Pratt being in the top movies of 2018 (see below), Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans are the only two to make Forbes’ list of the top 10 highest paid actors in the world for June 2017 to June 2018. Hemsworth landed at No. 4 with $64.5 million, with Chris Evans just making the list at $34 million.

On the downside, Chris Hemsworth appears to be in a contract dispute alongside another Chris — Chris Pine. That’s reportedly keeping Star Trek 4 from moving forward, with both Chrises meant to reprise their roles as father and son. Neither Chris wants to take a pay cut, which is understandable. If one of the Chrises has to go, I’m thinking it should be Hemsworth. Still, his popularity has exploded since first playing George Kirk, so you can’t blame him too much for playing hardball.

2. Chris Pratt

Pluses: Best box office, Star-Lord reaction, James Gunn reaction, Chris quiz
Minuses: Star-Lord blame, Fallen Kingdom reaction, loss of two big movies

Li’l Sebastian would be so proud of the superhero Chris Pratt has become. When it comes to 2018 box office, he leaves the other Hollywood Chrises in the dust. Three of the four Chrises starred in Avengers: Infinity War, which has earned more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office. But Pratt also had Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which earned more than $1.3 billion. Infinity War and Fallen Kingdom are currently the No. 1 and No. 3 top-grossing movies of the year, respectively. No one — Chris or Other Name — can top that so far this year.

On the downside, many fans left Avengers: Infinity War ticked off at Star-Lord, blaming him for what happened. That’s not Chris Pratt’s fault, he has to play the cards he’s dealt as an actor. But he gets bonus points for handling that hate [chef’s kiss] perfectly. He acknowledged the fan anger on Instagram, showing a Star-Lord figurine getting, um, intimate with another Star-Lord figurine to reveal Pratt planned to go fuck himself. Classic. Pratt gets more social media points for taking Disney’s “Which Chris Are You?” quiz, getting Chris Evans instead of himself, and tweeting the results with a self-deprecating note.

However, in another downside, despite its financial success, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom wasn’t exactly universally loved. It got some pretty meh reactions and only a 51% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Again, that’s not entirely Pratt’s fault, but it takes away some of the shine. Right now, Pratt should be getting ready to start filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in early 2019, but that film famously lost director James Gunn when he was fired for past tweets. Pratt joined the other cast members in a statement of support for Gunn, and struck a very careful tone in interviews to show his support, while not condoning the content of Gunn’s old tweets. He handled it pretty well, as well as anyone could.

Unfortunately, in addition to losing Guardians 3 filming — at least for now — Chris Pratt also saw his Cowboy Ninja Viking movie pulled from the release schedule right before production was supposed to begin. That’s a bummer. But he seemed to fill that slot with an upcoming project with writer-director Taylor Sheridan. That partnership sounds like a perfect fit for Pratt.

On a personal note, after finalizing his divorce from Anna Faris, Chris Pratt now seems to be happy in a new relationship with Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. So he’s this close to be a Kennedy and Ahhhhnold’s son-in-law. All told, things seem to be going pretty well for Chris Pratt.

3. Chris Evans

Pluses: Bearded Captain America, final Cap filming, Robert Downey Jr. bromance, social media, his dog
Minuses: Only one movie this year, potentially polarizing political posts

If there’s a 2019 version of this list, I fully expect Chris Evans to be on top. But Evans was only in one movie this year, a little indie called Avengers: Infinity War. So, yeah, if you’re only going to be in one film, it may as well be the No. 1 movie of the year, playing one of its most popular characters. Evans had audiences cheering for his entrance as Steve Rogers/Captain America, looking particularly fine with that new facial hair. Unlike Chris Pratt, no one walked away mad at bearded Cap. Plus, Cap survived the snap, so that’s a bonus.

We know Chris Evans will have a huge role in Avengers 4, which is very possibly his last time suiting up as Captain America. He tweeted a nostalgic note after filming what might’ve been his last scene, then had to clarify that he wasn’t trying to spoil anything in terms of Cap’s fate. But it’s too late, and some fans were left in tears, anticipating The End for Evans as Captain America. It looks like next year Evans should be releasing The Red Sea Diving Resort, Avengers 4, and Knives Out, his crime mystery with Daniel Craig, directed by Rian Johnson. We’re expecting to see Evans everywhere next year. But since he wasn’t everywhere this year, we can’t put him in the top two.

Even missing from the big screen for most of the year, Chris Evans had a strong presence online and on the small screen. He was on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage over the summer, showing off the custom 1967 Camaro RS that Robert Downey Jr. had made for him. Yes, Iron Man made him a Camaro. He gets huge points for that. The Cap/Iron Man bromance is a beautiful thing to behold, and the actors kept it going several times throughout the year on social media.

Chris Evans often uses his Twitter for political posts, which would mark a downside for everyone not sharing his views. But when he’s not posting political stuff, he often posts fun things with his fellow Avengers, or posts photos of his adorable dog Dodger, which gets him extra points.

On a personal level, he dated actress Jenny Slate for a while, but they broke up again earlier this year. But Chris Evans being single may be an upside to anyone hoping the Boston boy will look their way next. If he’s not attached, fans can still dream.

4. Chris Pine

Pluses: The most unique Chris, dares to question Marvel, bold Outlaw King full frontal
Minuse: Box office and critical disappointments, Star Trek dispute stalls next movie

This is painful. On any other year, I’d never put Chris Pine last. He is, in my humble opinion, the most fascinating Chris. He has a bold fashion sense, refuses to use social media and still rocks a flip phone. The only non-MCU Chris has a refreshing IDAF attitude about modern mores and celebrity self-promotion. His personal life is also largely a mystery, which adds to the intrigue factor. This Chris was even bold enough to take a little shot at Marvel last year, nonchalantly questioning Infinity War as a title with “We need more war for all time?”

Chris Pine has shown some solid range in the past, from an Oscar-worthy (but not nominated) role in Hell or High Water to his scene-stealing role as Eric in Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer. He also gets bonus points for singing in various films, including in Into the Woods, as well as major props for singing about the Hollywood Chrises while hosting Saturday Night Live last year. Yes, that was last year, so it doesn’t technically count here, but the man actually sang about the Chrises. It was glorious.

But there’s no question this particular year hasn’t been his best — not at the box office, and not creatively. Chris Pine has only been in two movies this year — A Wrinkle in Time and Outlaw King. The former was not a big success with critics or audiences, and only picked up $132 million worldwide off a budget reported to be over $100 million. Pine didn’t have the lead role in Wrinkle, but he is Robert the Bruce in Outlaw King, which is heading straight to Netflix this Friday, November 9. Outlaw King is giving Chris Pine some pluses and minuses. It debuted to less-than-stellar reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, except for the scene where Pine shows full-frontal nudity. Not every major franchise actor is willing to be so exposed on screen, so Chris Pine gets points for boldly going where the other Chrises have not gone before. (Chris Hemsworth used a fake penis for Vacation.)

Another minus for Chris Pine this year is the news that he may not return as James T. Kirk for Star Trek 4. Both he and Chris Hemsworth don’t want to take pay cuts. Some fans think the new film doesn’t need Pine’s Kirk at all, others think they shouldn’t make the film without him. Either way, he is the face of the rebooted franchise, and the most recent film in that franchise, Star Trek Beyond, wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Hence, the pay cuts.

Chris Pine is currently filming Wonder Woman 1984 for its release in 2020. It was certainly a plus to learn we’d see more of Steve Trevor, although director Patty Jenkins still has some ‘splainin’ to do on how that will work.

Now it’s your turn to rank the Chrises for 2018!

Which Of These Four Chrises Has Had The Best 2018, In Your Opinion?

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