A Star Is Born Was Originally Going To Star A Real Rocker Instead Of Bradley Cooper

After seeing A Star is Born, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Jackson Maine other than Bradley Cooper. In addition to the emotion he brought to the role, the four-time Oscar nominee sang his own songs and was also totally convincing as a rock star. Originally though, A Star is Born was going to star a real rocker instead of Bradley Cooper: the former lead singer of The White Stripes, Jack White.

When Bradley Cooper was initially looking at A Star is Born as his directorial debut, he was interested in having an actual musician play the part of the aging rocker and he met with him about the part. According to Variety‘s sources, that actual musician was Jack White. However, while Bradley Cooper was interested in him in the role, it seems that the studio was not and would not make the movie with Jack White.

It’s not clear why the studio didn’t want Jack White to lead the movie. Perhaps it felt that he didn’t have enough acting credits to instill confidence he could lead the film or perhaps he just wasn’t a recognizable enough face. This all apparently occurred before Lady Gaga came aboard to star in the film, so maybe the studio wanted to make sure that at least one of the leads had a big name.

Singer-songwriter Jack White has been successful in bands and as a solo artist, so he obviously would have delivered in the musical parts of the film and A Star is Born would have played to his strengths, much as it did Lady Gaga’s. The majority of Jack White’s acting credits are roles where he played himself, although he did have a part in Cold Mountain and he delivered a memorable Elvis Presley in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

You can see the inclination to have a real rock star in the role. The songs are fraught with emotion and part of the story, so they have to be good and you want someone who can bring some authenticity on that front. It’s hard to know how Jack White would have been as Jackson Maine, but thankfully the film we got doesn’t have too many people wishing for what might have been.

While stellar musical performances are great, in the quiet moments you also need someone who can really act. Fortunately, Bradley Cooper actually sang live, including some songs he wrote, and came off as a believable rock star in the film. And Lady Gaga, who is a pop star, showed she is also a great actress. So it was a perfect marriage of two people who could deliver in all the areas the movie required.

Jack White as one of the leads is just one of the many permutations of what might have been with this A Star is Born remake over the years. At one point, Clint Eastwood was attached to direct and the film would have starred Beyoncé instead of Lady Gaga. In the male lead, names like Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Christian Bale were all talked about.

A Star is Born has been a box office hit and it is set to make a serious run come awards season. Bradley Cooper’s film may even get a new, extended cut. A Star is Born is still playing, but that’s not the only awards contender in theaters this fall. Check out all of the holiday’s biggest blockbusters and buzziest films in our Holiday Movie Guide.

Bill Gates Loves HBO’s Silicon Valley, But Has A Complaint

As one of the most successful businessmen in the history of the recorded (Microsoft) word, Bill Gates has ideas and thoughts that are considered doctrine by many. The billionaire philanthropist recently gained some more comedy cred in blogging about his love for HBO’s Silicon Valley, paying it the ultimate compliment in the process. For anyone who wants to understand the real world’s Silicon Valley, Gates says watching HBO’s tech satire is the way to do it. Not that he doesn’t have at least one complaint.

First, though, Bill Gates lauded Silicon Valley for being the rare pop culture entity that properly showcases the impact that the tech industry has had on the world, for better and worse. The Microsoft co-founder and former CEO says he recognizes a lot of the truths that Silicon Valley filters through its spoofy gags. Via his GatesNotes blog:

The show is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths. Most of the different personality types you see in the show feel very familiar to me. The programmers are smart, super-competitive even with their friends, and a bit clueless when it comes to social cues. Personally, I identify most with Richard, the founder of Pied Piper, who is a great programmer but has to learn some hard lessons about managing people.

Anybody who has watched Silicon Valley has witnessed Richard’s stunning brilliance becoming overwhelmed by his mountainous ineptitude. It’s not exactly comforting to know that Bill Gates sees so much of himself within Thomas Middleditch’s beleaguered programmer, considering how globally widespread Microsoft and Windows have gotten in the past 40 years. I mean, Richard is a “leader” who vomits under his desk and breaks his face on glass walls.

Obviously, even if Bill Gates did get some puke on his shirt over the years, his accomplishments have greatly overshadowed any personal embarrassments or setbacks. The same can’t quite be said for Richard, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Jared, whose Pied Piper faces two major problems for every one minor success.

In fact, the one complaint Bill Gates has with Silicon Valley, which he calls “minor,” involves startup Pied Piper being depicted as so much more put-together than Gavin Belson’s monolithic corporation Hooli. In Gates’ words:

Silicon Valley gives you the impression that small companies like Pied Piper are mostly capable while big companies like Hooli are mostly inept. Although I’m obviously biased, my experience is that small companies can be just as inept, and the big ones have the resources to invest in deep research and take a long-term point of view that smaller ones can’t afford. But I also understand why the show focuses so much on Pied Piper and makes Hooli look so goofy. It’s more fun to root for the underdog.

To Gates’ credit, there are few companies on TV that are depicted with the amount of contempt that Silicon Valley heaps onto Hooli and Matt Ross’ Gavin Belson. Everything that Gavin does is born of greed, vanity and the endless pursuit of superlative glory, which clearly isn’t comparative to Bill Gates himself, who has donated more money to charities than most people make in their lives. It is interesting, though, that Hooli and Gavin’s successes are known and accepted on Silicon Valley, even though they’re rarely depicted.

When Gavin does win big, though, you can almost always bet that Richard and Pied Piper’s products and advancements were part of the equation. In his blog post, Bill Gates says that Silicon Valley totally nails this element of the bloodthirsty tech world. (As opposed to, I guess, gags about masturbation and horse sex.)

Silicon Valley‘s mindless consumers don’t wholly care if it’s Hooli or Pied Piper that’s responsible for their data compression. Similarly, everyday people don’t always care what company or genius introduced the latest tech upgrade, only that the upgrade actually exists for us to use.

What’s certain, though, is that Silicon Valley is a product that could likely only come from a combination of creator Mike Judge’s sardonic wit, HBO’s encouragement, and razor-sharp performances. There can be no Hooli ripoffs here. Now, if only Bill Gates was able to talk about someone he knew who was like T.J. Miller’s Erlich.

Silicon Valley‘s first five seasons are currently available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Now, with Season 6 set to possibly not debut until 2020. (Delays pushed the production back to Summer 2019.) While waiting to see where this app-driven mayhem goes next, be sure to keep up with all the shows currently airing with our fall premiere schedule and our midseason TV guide.

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Netflix New Releases: Movies And TV Shows Coming To Netflix Streaming In December 2018

This year has been an interesting and exciting year for Netflix. With the company’s master plan of bumping up its original content numbers beginning to pay off in droves and some surprising originals coming out, it’s hard to see how 2019 will top this year’s lineup. Nowhere is that more prevalent than the list of titles that are coming online in December. If you’re interested in seeing November’s crop, you know where to go. But now, let’s send Netflix out in 2018 with a rundown of the company’s upcoming additions to the streaming family!

Week of December 1

8 Mile – 12/1/18
Astro Boy – 12/1/18
Battle – NETFLIX FILM – 12/1/18
Bride of Chucky – 12/1/18
Christine – 12/1/18
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – 12/1/18
Crossroads: One Two Jaga – NETFLIX FILM – 12/1/18
Friday – 12/1/18
Friday After Next – 12/1/18
Hellboy – 12/1/18
Man vs Wild with Sunny Leone: Season 1 – 12/1/18
Meet Joe Black – 12/1/18
Memories of the Alhambra (Streaming Every Saturday) – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/1/18
My Bloody Valentine – 12/1/18
Next Friday – 12/1/18
Reindeer Games – 12/1/18
Seven Pounds – 12/1/18
Shaun of the Dead – 12/1/18
Terminator Salvation – 12/1/18
The Big Lebowski – 12/1/18
The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Season 5 Masterclasses – 12/1/18
The Last Dragon – 12/1/18
The Man Who Knew Too Little – 12/1/18

Week of December 2

The Lobster – 12/2/18
Blue Planet II: Season 1 – 12/3/18
Hero Mask *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/3/18
The Sound of Your Heart: Reboot Season 2 *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/3/18
District 9 – 12/4/18
Happy!: Season 1 – 12/6/18
5 Star Christmas *- *NETFLIX FILM – 12/7/18
Bad Blood *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Dogs of Berlin *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Dumplin’ *- *NETFLIX FILM – 12/7/18
Free Rein: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle *- *NETFLIX FILM – 12/7/18
Nailed It! Holiday! *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Pine Gap *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay? *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
Super Monsters and the Wish Star *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
The American Meme *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
The Hook Up Plan (Plan Coeur) *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18
The Ranch: Part 6 *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/7/18

Week of December 9

Sin senos sí hay paraíso: Season 3 – 12/9/18
Michael Jackson’s This Is It – 12/10/18
Vir Das: Losing It – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/11/18
Back Street Girls: Gokudols – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/12/18
Out of Many, One – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/12/18
Wanted: Season 3 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/13/18
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Cuckoo: Season 4 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Dance & Sing with True: Songs – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Fuller House: Season 4 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Inside the Real Narcos – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons: Season 3 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
ROMA – NETFLIX FILM – 12/14/18
Sunderland Til I Die – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
The Fix – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
The Innocent Man – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
The Protector – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Tidelands – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Travelers: Season 3 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 8 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/14/18

Week of December 16

Baby Mama – 12/16/18
Kill the Messenger – 12/16/18
One Day – 12/16/18
Springsteen on Broadway *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/16/18
The Theory of Everything – 12/16/18
Baki *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/18/18
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/18/18
Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 5 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/18/18
3Below: Tales of Arcadia – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
7 Days Out – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Back With the Ex – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Bad Seeds – NETFLIX FILM – 12/21/18
Bird Box – NETFLIX FILM – 12/21/18
Derry Girls – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Diablero – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Greenleaf: Season 3 – 12/21/18
LAST HOPE: Part 2 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Perfume – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Sirius the Jaeger – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski – NETFLIX FILM – 12/21/18
Tales by Light: Season 3 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
The Casketeers – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18
Wolf (BÖRÜ) – NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/21/18

Week of December 23

Hi Score Girl *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/24/18
The Magicians: Season 3 – 12/24/18
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Season 11 – 12/25/18
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War – 12/25/18
Alexa & Katie: Season 2 *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/26/18
YOU – 12/26/18
Instant Hotel *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/28/18
La noche de 12 años *- *NETFLIX FILM – 12/28/18
Selection Day *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/28/18
When Angels Sleep *- *NETFLIX FILM – 12/28/18
Yummy Mummies *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL – 12/28/18

Week of December 30

The Autopsy of Jane Doe – 12/30/18
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man – 12/31/18

December TBD

Watership Down: Limited Series *- *NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Before we mention anything else, we’ve got to feed the hype beast for a moment. Yes, you read correctly, Avengers: Infinity War is coming to Netflix on Christmas Day. While you’ll probably be asking for your own personal copy for the holidays, know that even if it is in short supply, and someone promises you a copy in the post-holiday period, you’ll still be able to get your fill of Marvel Studios-induced tears.

With that out of the way, it’s a pretty spectacular month for original films, with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma finally coming to the streaming library. (Though if you’re a cinematic purist, the film will start a limited theatrical run next week, so check your local listings.) Also on tap is the adaptation of the YA novel Dumplin,’ as well as the Sandra Bullock starring sci-fi blockbuster Bird Box.

Last, but not least, if you were looking forward to Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and thought you’d be waiting until 2019 to see the finished product, Netflix pulled a fast one and put it on this month’s docket of joy.

Netflix loyalists are also going to be thrilled at the original series output coming in December, especially with the return of Fuller House marking the series’ fourth season on the streaming platform. Also, the BBC / Netflix co-production of Watership Down will hit for U.S. audiences at some point in December, though no drop date has been scheduled as of yet. So you’ve got some time to mentally prepare for the hardships of those legendary bunnies.

Neo Yokio and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina fans will have something to look forward to, as both series have holiday specials coming out this month. Finally, if you’re a viewer of Voltron: Legendary Defender, this month marks your big goodbye, as the series’ eighth and final season takes its bow.

Netflix has had a fantastic 2018, and December looks to be the meteoric close we’ve all been expecting. Keep in mind though that all titles above are subject to change. So feel free to check back in, should you want to make sure that a particular title you’ve been anticipating hasn’t disappeared.

New Lego Movie 2 Trailer Makes Fun Of Chris Pratt’s Many Blockbusters

The LEGO Movie was something of a surprise considering just how good it was, making it the start of yet another franchise starring Chris Pratt. The former Parks & Recreation actor has come a long way now that he’s the hero of numerous film series, and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part isn’t going to let that joke pass it by, as the new trailer shows. Check it out.

The first part of this trailer we’ve seen before. the LEGO world that our characters live in has become a desolate wasteland following the events of the first movie. Things go from bad to worse when a spacecraft arrives and kidnaps Wyldstyle and most of the rest of our heroes, leaving only Emmitt, voiced by Chris Pratt, to save them all.

However, once he flies off to fo the rescuing bit, he finds himself being rescued by a brash and scruffy hero named Rex Dangervest. It turns out Rex is a galaxy defending, archeologist, cowboy, raptor trainer, which is a pretty eclectic and awesome set of skills. It’s also, of course, a rundown of all the jobs that Cris Pratt’s characters have had in his recent films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, and The Magnificent Seven.

Although Chris Pratt has yet to play an actual archeologist, though he has been rumored to be a possible successor of the Indiana Jones franchise, and maybe The LEGO Movie 2 thought that would be a done deal by the time it came out.

Of course, the rest of the joke is that Rex Dangervest is actually voiced by Chris Pratt as well. Making this yet another of his uber-macho characters.

Of course, the fact that Chris Pratt’s other character, Emmitt the construction worker, is so much the opposite of the persona that Chris Pratt has built in movies in recent years, beyond simply being a yellow plastic toy, is part of the joke to begin with. In the first film, the character was the “chosen one” but even that was mostly just a joke and the character’s averageness is what makes him so endearing.

The first LEGO Movie was surprising in just how good it was considering the fact that it based an entire story around interlocking bricks. Certainly, the bar will be raised that much higher for a sequel. How will The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part be able to shake up expectations considering how well received the first movie was? There’s little hint of that in this trailer, but to be fair there was little hint in the run-up to the first movie either, so we’ll have to wait and see.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will be in theaters this February. In addition to the return of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett as LEGO Batman, the film will see the addition of new characters voiced by the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, and Arturo Castro.

Vikings’ Rollo Is Returning To Kattegatt For Unexpected Reasons

Vikings fans are well-aware that Season 5B is going to present a fresh dose of Rollo. So, what exactly do we owe to his homecoming? Publicly, it is for the sake of political advancement. However, Vikings‘ creator Michael Hirst hinted at Rollo’s real and unexpected motivation, saying:

That’s right, his relationship with his former sister-in-law is one of Rollo’s true motives. What makes Michael Hirst’s Vikings reveal to TV Guide all the more compelling is that it teases something below the surface. He talks of “unfinished business” between Rollo and Lagertha. What could that possibly entail?

If it is romantic, Rollo and Lagertha have both appeared to move on. Rollo had seemed to pine for Lagertha when she was and was not his brother’s wife. However, that ship seemed to sail long ago. Rollo married Princess Gisla, and Lagertha has found a serious new relationship. The latter romance will apparently be key in Season 5B.

If it is not to renew their relationship, it could be to resolve their past one. We know that Lagertha ended up choosing Ragnar over Rollo before the series began. It is a backstory of a romantic triangle that brought added turbulence to the rivalry between the brothers. What we do not know for certain is how far their relationship went before Lagertha chose Ragnar. It is an aspect that has led to speculation regarding Bjorn’s paternity.

Is that the “unfinished business” Rollo wants to deal with? It would make sense. It would be very different from his public goal of political inroads. Rollo inquiring about Bjorn’s paternity would be as personal and private an issue as Vikings‘ creator hints that Rollo’s is.

There has always been room for this speculation. Besides the timeline, Bjorn and his uncle share their temperaments in common. Lagertha’s son has always possessed an underlying warmth that Rollo has similarly exhibited. Whereas, Ragnar’s disposition always belied a certain coldness and practicality.

Elsewhere in the story, Michael Hirst is quoted as saying that Lagertha will have to face “hard truths” regarding Rollo and her ambition. Did her aspirations to be the wife of a man, as obviously destined for power in Kattegatt as Ragnar, come at Rollo’s expense? As in denying him his biological son?

All of the puzzle pieces seem to line up with this storyline coming into play in Season 5B. Whether the show actually does, will be interesting to learn. So, while we have a big piece of the puzzle, Rollo’s full motivation remains a mystery for now.

It seems like Vikings has been building towards this storyline for a while. After five-and-a-half seasons, one can only hope the connection between Rollo, Lagertha, and Bjorn will finally be addressed.

The second half of Vikings‘ fifth season also known as Season 5B will premiere Wednesday, November 28 at 9 p.m. ET on History. The historical drama is among many shows returning with new seasons this fall and the midseason.

Stan Lee’s Team Responds To Bill Maher’s Controversial Comments Over His Death

It has been a little over a week since Stan Lee, the face of Marvel, passed away at the age of 95. Fans and comic book lovers are still mourning the death of the famous media personality, looking back on his indelible, decades-long legacy and remembering all his iconic pop culture creations and the wide-spanning impact he made on the world — for people of all ages. But there are a few people who aren’t so warm-hearted on the late celebrity.

Namely, Bill Maher earned quite a bit of controversy for his condescending thoughts on the nature of comic book culture, mainly in adults. His unpopular thoughts received a great deal of ire on social media, claiming he is belittling a man who had a huge impact on the everyday lives of many comic appreciators. Now, Maher received a critical open letter from Stan Lee’s representatives over what they deemed was “disgusting.” They wrote:

The open letter to Bill Maher from “Team Stan” is pointed, straightforward and dismayed. But it also extends a metaphorical hand across the table, hoping that the veteran HBO television personality will learn the error of his ways. The letter seems to highlight why so many people praised and adored Stan Lee’s licensed characters beyond their childhoods and away from the mega-blockbuster films inspired by his comic book creations.

Later in the public letter, the representatives behind the late Stan Lee’s estate harken back to two of the man’s greatest quotes in their closing address.

This is not the first time Bill Maher has found himself in hot water for saying something that other deemed offensive.The outspoken television personality has practically built his brand on being very critical and highly opinionated in his cultural and political beliefs. But some people believe he stepped over the line this time, with the current controversy coming from a blog post published on his official Real Time website called “Adulting.”

By commenting about Stan Lee’s death and the impact it had on the fandom, Bill Maher is seemingly making a ton of enemies. The comic book fandom is especially intense and devoted, and Marvel’s impact on pop culture has never been larger. It should be interesting to see if the host addresses it on the newest episode of Real Time. Maher hasn’t addressed the controversy yet, and it’s currently unclear if he’ll actually discuss the taboo matter, or wait until the fire dies down.

We’ll keep you posted if Bill Maher responds to the open letter from Stan Lee’s team. Meanwhile, Maher isn’t the only celebrity who has gotten himself in trouble for speaking out-of-turn about Stan Lee’s passing. Armie Hammer issued a critical tweet lamenting selfie culture when it comes to posting pictures of oneself alongside the late comic book creator. Hammer later apologized for his comments, admitting that what he said was disrespectful.

Crimes Of Grindelwald Has A Lower CinemaScore Than Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Harry Potter’s Wizarding World has been enchanting audiences for decades, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Author J.K. Rowling has been expanding the universe through the website Pottermore, The Cursed Child plays, as well as the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The first sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, arrived in theaters last week– but its not faring quite as well as its predecessor.

This juxtaposition can certainly be seen in the movie’s box office performances, with The Crimes of Grindelwald taking less in its opening weekend than the first movie. But audiences seem to be less enthralled with the new installment, which can be seen with its current CinemaScore. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has a respectable B+, but that’s down from the A score Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them landed with audiences back in 2016.

The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s decline on CinemaScore might be for a few reasons, one of which being that the first Fantastic Beasts movie was the first of its kind, and therefore extra exciting. The same trend can be seen with Star Wars’ Last Jedi compared to The Force Awakens. Still, the lower score is just the latest way the new sequel has seemingly failed to keep up with the first Fantastic Beasts.

As previously mentioned, The Crimes of Grindelwald is making less money at the box office than the original. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took home $74.4 million two years ago during its opening weekend, where David Yates’ sequel brought in $62.25 million domestically. While still a strong performance, the dip in millions is certainly noticeable.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald also performed less well critically, received mixed reviews and currently holding 40% on Rotten Tomatoes at the point of writing this story. Word of mouth via social media has proven a big part of the release process, so it’s possible that the reviews and social media reaction dissuaded moviegoers from shelling out money last weekend.

J.K. Rowling and David Yates certainly seem to be taking tons of risks with The Crimes of Grindelwald, crafting a story that is decidedly more adult and dark than Harry Potter’s first few years at Hogwarts. The prequel continued not long after the first film’s events, and helped bridge the connection between the Fantastic Beasts movies and the Harry Potter series.

It may be this new tone and the subject matter that affected the sequel’s audience reaction and box office performance. There were little to no moments of levity, and Grindelwald and his followers murdered a ton of people throughout the course of the movie. Add in the death of an infant and the mind-blowing twist ending, and The Crimes of Grindelwald didn’t sit right with everyone.

You can judge for yourself now, as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is currently in theaters. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Robin Hood Reviews Are Up, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

Robin Hood is one of those timeless characters who’s going to get movies made about him for as long as we’re making movies. The story of robbing the rich to give to the poor works in any era and makes for instant drama, but how does the new Robin Hood, starring Kingsman‘s Taron Egerton in the title role, stack up against the rest? Our own Mike Reyes found the film enjoyable enough, giving it 3.5 stars out of five, though he felt the movie felt a little too much like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, a not enough like an original Robin Hood concept. According to Reyes…

While this modern Robin Hood does feel very much a product of its time, with fun performances and kinetic action thrown into the mix, it feels as if it had to crib from another landmark franchise to do so.

There are a few other positive reviews of the film that tend to fall strongly into the “it’s fun, don’t think too hard” school of movie praise. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman also points out the ways that this Robin Hood takes some cues from modern superhero movies like Batman, but also compares the film to another, very different, style of film, the over-the-top glitz, glamour, and surrealness of the director of Moulin Rouge.

Robin Hood is no classic, but if it sometimes seems like it’s trying to be Baz Luhrmann’s Robin Hood, more power to it.

There are other positive reviews, which is to say, as of this writing, there is a single other positive review currently posted on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The UK’s Independent says mostly credit the film’s never-ceasing tempo and a couple of standout performances.

After a clumsy beginning, the story quickly builds up momentum. It has a likeably self-deprecating performance from Taron Egerton as Robin and a wonderfully sneering and malevolent one from Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Once we get past these few positive notes, however, it’s all downhill. The vast majority of the opinions are coming down squarely on the “it’s just bad” side of the fence. The Wrap‘s Yolanda Machado felt the script was “uninspired,” saying…

Reboots and remakes are meant to introduce a new audience to a classic tale with fresh ideas and storylines that make the story relevant to modern audiences. Robin Hood doesn’t even try.

It seems like the new Robin Hood may give you everything you expect from a Robin Hood movie, bows and arrows, swordfights, the Sherriff of Nottingham, etc. but doesn’t really give you much more than that. It tries to add a different spin to the material by giving the film a more modern feel, which is certainly something that we haven’t seen from Robin Hood movies before, Keven Costner’s lack of accent notwithstanding.

Of course, the last time a movie tried to do a modernized, but still period, version of a classic myth, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, it didn’t work out very well for anybody involved. THR‘s Todd McCarthy reminds us all of that box office bomb, and lumps Robin Hood in with it. He’s looking for an apology after sitting through Robin Hood.

In a just world, everyone involved in this mess would be required to perform some sort of public penance.

Of course, not every review that agrees the film is bad goes quite so far as to expect everybody to perform community service. Some have been able to find bright spots in an otherwise poor production. While Robin Hood as a movie may not work, some, like the Boston Globe‘s Meredith Goldstein, do think Taron Eggerton works as Robin Hood, saying…

Egerton makes for an ideal Robin, with his Lego-shaped jaw, and his ability to deliver lines with great sarcasm while looking good in stylish outerwear… The only problem is that there isn’t much for Egerton’s Robin to say. The zingers don’t quite zing.

As of this writing, Robin Hood is sitting with an 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus is clearly that Robin Hood isn’t very good, and with the film seeing significant competition over the Thanksgiving weekend from the likes of Creed II and Ralph Breaks The Internet, which have both reviewed much better, it seems like the movie may have a significantly uphill battle when it comes to the box office.

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A Sons Of Anarchy Vet Is Heading To The Conners

Getting Katey Sagal back on TV on a regular basis would be amazing, since that’s what we’re all used to, but we’l take the smaller roles, too. At this point in her career, Sagal is usually seen as a sitcom queen, having starred in Married with Children, 8 Simple Rules and Futurama, not to mention Superior Donuts, A to Z, and more. As such, the actress likely felt right at home sitting on the Conner’s couch inside their iconic living room.

What Fantastic Beasts 3 Needs To Do

Spoiler warning: Lots of spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald here, so come back after seeing the movie!

For a series that’s predominantly about wizards and witches, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is lacking magic. The second film in a reported five-part series, the movie released this weekend but it hasn’t captured the spirit or the attention of the Harry Potter films that preceded it. The Crimes of Grindelwald has received mixed reviews and had the lowest domestic opening weekend of the Harry Potter franchise with $62 million, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for this budding franchise.

There will almost certainly be a Fantastic Beasts 3, partly because Harry Potter is massive and Warner Bros. has invested too many resources to stop now, and because the sequel was practically all set up for a future film. The adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and the gang aren’t done yet and it’s not too late to course correct some issues. Fantastic Beasts 3 has a lot of potential, so here are just a few things that can be done to make it the exciting and satisfying film that fans want it to be.

More Fantastic Beasts

For a movie with Fantastic Beasts in the title, there weren’t very many magical creatures in this sequel. Part of the reason for that is the story is shifting away from the beasts to focus on Grindelwald’s war, and it’s going to get harder and harder to find ways to organically include these majestic creatures. That’s a shame, because the beasts are what set these movies apart from the other Harry Potter films. They are unique and imaginative, and they give the movie extra character development where there is none. Maybe it was the wrong choice to use fantastic beasts to launch a franchise that was about something else entirely, but hopefully, J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. can find a way to make it work.

Justify Character Decisions

There’s been much said about the ending of The Crimes of Grindelwald and while the main talking point is the Credence-is-a-Dumbledore reveal, the ending as a whole is problematic. The whole ending is predicated on characters choosing a side, but the shock value of those decisions falls completely flat because it’s unearned. For example, Queenie sides with Grindelwald, a development that could have been interesting but is executed so poorly and doesn’t make a lick of sense. Quennie has all of one scene with Grindelwald and then after one rally she’s all “go Team Grindelwald,” betraying all of her friends and family to do so. Credence is in a similar boat, and Fantastic Beasts 3 should devote more time to explaining their rationale behind joining Grindelwald so that this drama is actually, well, dramatic.

Develop The Scamander Brother Relationship

The Crimes of Grindelwald introduces us to Theseus Scamander, Newt’s brother. The movie tells us that they have a complicated and tumultuous relationship, but it never actually shows that. At the beginning of the movie, Theseus tries to help Newt with the Ministry of Magic and warns him that he’s being watched. Later in the film, Tina Goldstein immobilizes Theseus, and Newt says it was the greatest moment of his life. Why? We don’t really ever get a sense of what their relationship is, which is arguably a symptom of a larger issue that I’ll get into in a moment. With the Scamander brothers united by a common cause at the end of the film, Fantastic Beasts 3 could go a long way to explore that family history and drama.

Trim What’s Not Working

The Crimes of Grindelwald is a very busy movie that is heavy on plot and exposition but never really feels like anything is happening. That’s because this is all just set up for Dumbledore V. Grindelwald down the line and the movie just doesn’t have time for character development or explaining what’s happening. Fantastic Beasts 3 can work to fix this by cutting down all the superfluous material. That partly means reducing the characters to a core unit (there’s a reason Harry Potter barely expanded its focus beyond three teenagers) and cutting any complicated storylines. I know I said Fantastic Beasts 3 should explore the Scamanders, but if that isn’t working, then give it the boot. If you’re going to hype up Nagini and only give her three lines, maybe she shouldn’t have been in this movie. There’s just too many moving parts distracting Crimes of Grindelwald from developing the things that matter, so Fantastic Beasts 3 needs a renewed and simplified focus.

Explain What Grindelwald Wants

Voldemort had a pretty simple M.O.: Muggles are dirty, and wizards should rule/kill them all. He wasn’t a very complicated snake-man, but Grindelwald is a different story. Perhaps this is just me, but I had a very hard time following what Grindelwald is trying to achieve. He’s trying to get the wizarding world to reveal themselves to muggles, but for what? To kill them? He says he wants freedom, and that he doesn’t hate muggles, but he had no problem killing a baby (a thing that happens MORE THAN ONCE). Harry Potter has never been afraid to go black and white with its depiction of good and evil, and it’s never a bad idea to let the audience know what the villain wants. Also, have him do some crimes next time. He spent the whole movie plotting and getting high on magic skull smoke.

Have Dumbledore Do Something

As much as Newt Scamander is on the frontlines, what these movies really want to be about is Dumbledore and Grindelwald. The films are all about the growing conflict of Grindelwald’s war and Dumbledore is right in the center. He’s certainly more connected to it than Newt. That’s why it’s finally time for Dumbledore to step up, find a substitute teacher, and get his hands dirty. Dumbledore has always been a character helping from the sidelines, but now that he’s a main player, he’s got to actually do something. He’s supposed to be one of the most powerful wizards ever, but we’ve never gotten a chance to really see that. He always operates through proxies or from the shadows, but these movies are about him now more than ever and it’s never engaging to watch a main character do nothing.

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