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Ben Affleck got a piece of 'practical advice' from Christian Bale about playing Batman


batman v superman

It never hurts to get advice before you go into a big job. And there's probably no bigger role Ben Affleck has signed on for than playing Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which hits theaters March 25.

In a recent interview with “Good Morning America,” Affleck said that he has gotten advice from two former Dark Knights: George Clooney and Christian Bale.

In typical Clooney fashion, the actor, Affleck says, “gave me some advice which is not repeatable.” But Affleck did share what Bale told him.

George_clooney_as_batman“I talked to Christian, who just told me to make sure I got a zipper in the suit, which was valuable, practical advice as it turned out.”

It probably makes sense to go with the wisdom from the guy who revived Batman to acclaim over three films, rather than the guy whose role in the franchise is best known for a Batsuit with nipples on it.

In the “GMA” interview, Affleck also talked about getting into shape for the role, having to go up against the buff Henry Cavill, playing Superman, as he did in “Man of Steel.”

“I saw the first movie he was in and I was like, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I’m going to be in quite that good of shape,’” Affleck said of Cavill.

Though Affleck said he did end up putting on 20 pounds of muscle for the role.

Watch the full “GMA” interview with Affleck and Cavill below:

SEE ALSO: Victoria's Secret supermodel reveals everything she eats in a day

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John Kerry met with Hollywood studio heads to 'brainstorm' how to fight ISIS propaganda


John Kerry Reuters

In news that brings back memories of when Washington and Hollywood combined forces to discuss how movies and TV should address the War on Terror following 9/11, it turns out Secretary of State John Kerry met with the heads of the major movie studios on Tuesday to brainstorm how to counter the ISIS narrative.

And unlike the very secretive meetings post-9/11, Kerry wasn’t shy about showing what he was up to, as he tweeted this picture with those involved:

"Daesh" is a transliteration of an Arabic acronym that refers to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

According to Variety, the meeting took place at Universal Studios and lasted 90 minutes.

The major-player participants were: Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos; 20th Century Fox Co-Chair Stacey Snider; Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production; Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; Amblin Partners CEO Michael Wright; and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer.

“It was a give and take of ideas from all sides, more brainstorming without any defining principles established at the end,” an insider told Deadline

Another insider told Variety that ideas were also given on ways to market movies and TV shows across cultures in ways that can counter how ISIS is spreading its network through social-media channels and with video propaganda.

SEE ALSO: Fox News host grills Donald Trump in tense interview about his George W. Bush criticism

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How Tom Cruise's bizarre 'Tropic Thunder' character was created — and why we may see him again



One of the highlights of the 2008 Ben Stiller comedy “Tropic Thunder” is Les Grossman, the venom-spewing, Diet Coke-drinking studio head who doesn’t care that the lead actor (Stiller) in his multimillion-dollar movie has been kidnapped in the jungles of Vietnam.

The reason why the character is so memorable is simple: He's played by Tom Cruise.

Well, it was probably the best time for Cruise to do something that’s not in his wheelhouse. Back then, Cruise was still getting over the box-office disaster of “Mission: Impossible 3,” and his public statements about Scientology caused Viacom chair Sumner Redstone to tell a reporter, “We don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot.”

Thankfully, Cruise's friend Ben Stiller wanted him to be in “Thunder.” And as the movie’s coscreenwriter Justin Theroux tells it, they wanted Cruise to have a larger part.

“We were talking to Tom about maybe doing Ben’s part — we wanted him in the movie,” Theroux told Business Insider while doing press for “Zoolander 2,” which he also cowrote. “We thought it would be a real coup to get him in the movie.”

But Cruise pushed for the minor studio-head role, so Theroux went to work on the character.

Justin Theroux Jeff Spicer Getty“I went back and started working on it and sketching it out and basically creating the most vile character I could create,” Theroux revealed. “And there was a moment of going, ‘Oh, s--t, eventually Tom is going to see these pages and he’s going to be like, 'What the hell are you doing?’”

But that was far from the case. In fact, Cruise encouraged Theroux and Stiller to make the character even more offensive.

And when it came to the Les Grossman look — balding and overweight — Cruise suggested another memorable feature.

“He wanted these prosthetic hands — big, chubby hands,” Theroux said of Cruise's pointer.

In many ways. the Les Grossman character made Cruise hip again to an audience that was starting to write him off.

Tom Cruise Les Grossman Giphy Paramount
Since the release of “Tropic Thunder,” many have pushed for a spinoff that focuses on Grossman.

Theroux, for one, is game, and it seems like it might be tentatively in the works.

“We’ve talked about it,” Theroux said. “But it’s one of those things where we go, we don’t want to jam anything, we just want to make sure the tone is right and it would be the right story.”

SEE ALSO: How Johnny Depp's epic Donald Trump movie was made in just 4 days

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Comcast's Fandango acquires Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster to build movie-discovery empire


movie audience StockLite Shutterstock

Fandando, the nation's leading movie-ticket platform, announced Wednesday that it has acquired Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster from Warner Bros. Entertainment. 

Rotten Tomatoes is the most popular online aggregator of movie and TV reviews from professional critics and fans. Flixster is a website and mobile app for discovering movies, with more than 50 million app installs. 

“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” said Fandango President Paul Yanover in a statement about the deal. “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio, and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities.”

With this acquisition, Fandango’s combined audience reach will grow to more than 63 million unique visitors per month, according to its release, which did not specify how much it acquired the brands for.

Warner Bros. Entertainment will take a minority ownership stake in Fandango and serve as an ongoing strategic partner. Fandango will continue to operate as a unit of NBCUniversal/Comcast.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 5 best and worst Oscar hosts ever

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Here's your first look at all of the new 'Star Wars' LEGOs coming out this year


kylo ren lego

I headed over to the Javits Center this past weekend to check out a bunch of superhero and "Star Wars" toys. 

One of the coolest toy tours occurred Sunday when I was able to get a hands-on look at a bunch of new LEGO sets coming out this year, including new "Star Wars" sets from "The Force Awakens" and an upcoming "Star Wars" LEGO show called "LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures."

Unfortunately, no "Star Wars: Rogue One" sets were on display yet. Everything "Rogue One" appears to be locked securely in the Disney vault for now.

Keep reading to see all of the new "Star Wars" LEGOs you'll soon be able to buy.

LEGO has been releasing buildable figures for a while now and now they've added a few more "The Force Awakens" characters to the set. Here are Poe Dameron and Finn.

The Poe Dameron and Finn buildable figures are available now for $24.99.

You can't have "Star Wars" LEGOs without a First Order Stormtrooper.

The First Order buildable figure is available now for $19.99.

The Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma ones are pretty cool.

The Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma buildable figures are available for $24.99. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The one thing everyone can learn from the success of 'Deadpool'


deadpool ryan reynolds

"Deadpool" had a massive, record-breaking opening weekend at the box office bringing in over $150 million.

The film, made on a relatively small budget of $58 million, exceeded analyst expectations. Predictions originally called for the film to debut between $55 million to $70 million. Now, it has made over $296 million worldwide.

The film was undeniably a risk. There aren't many R-rated superhero movies, and among those, the highest-grossing one is 2009's "Watchmen" at $185 million worldwide.

"Deadpool" was even riskier because it was a superhero format that hadn't been done before as it follows an unconventional, unabashedly raunchy antihero. In addition to gratuitous violence, Deadpool often addresses the audience, well aware of the fact that he's simply a comic book character living in a comic book world.

However, it was because of that — because "Deadpool" fearlessly was bold enough to tackle and embrace its quirky comic origins head on— that the film succeeded. 

If there's one thing people take away from the success of "Deadpool," it's that you shouldn't be afraid to take risks on any original idea. 

When I spoke with screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese before "Deadpool" debuted they had been trying to get this film made for six and half years. (The film itself has been in production even longer — over a decade.) I asked them why Fox wouldn't greenlight this film for so long, Wernick said it all boiled down to a fear to take a chance on something different.

"The reason it didn’t get made for the six and a half years that we were involved in it was because of fear, the fear of it being an outlier. The fear of it being an R-rated Marvel superhero movie,"Wernick told Tech Insider.

Now, that "Deadpool" has succeeded as an R-rated movie, it paves the way for other R-rated superhero movies. Don't be surprised if you see Fox's upcoming Wolverine film in 2017 to up the ante with an R rating. Some even thought Warner Bros. could consider giving its offbeat summer villain movie "Suicide Squad"the R rating, too. (But it looks like that will probably stick with a PG-13.)

That sounds like a good thing. 

But as "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn recently pointed out on Facebook, it can also be a negative thing. 

"After every movie smashes records people here in Hollywood love to throw out the definitive reasons why the movie was a hit. I saw it happen with Guardians," Gunn wrote. "It 'wasn't afraid to be fun' or it 'was colorful and funny' etc etc etc. And next thing I know I hear of a hundred film projects being set up "like Guardians," and I start seeing dozens of trailers exactly like the Guardians trailer with a big pop song and a bunch of quips. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh."

james gunn guardians of the galaxy

"Deadpool wasn't that. Deadpool was its own thing," Gunn continued. "THAT'S what people are reacting to. It's original, it's damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn't afraid to take risks."

Don't be surprised if you start seeing Hollywood studios taking advantage of the "Deadpool" model and building off of it to launch films in a similar style.

"So, over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you'll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They'll be green lighting films "like Deadpool" - but, by that, they won't mean "good and original" but "a raunchy superhero film" or "it breaks the fourth wall." They'll treat you like you're stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn't do," Gunn concluded.

What's the lesson studios should learn from the success of "Deadpool"?

While, yes, it's a good idea to take risks on original movie ideas, don't just approve films for the sake of replicating Fox's success of the merc with a mouth. Moviegoers are smart enough to know when Hollywood is trying to sell them the same movie twice


I think Deadpool would agree.

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The 'Harry Potter' question J.K. Rowling really wants people to stop asking


harry potterHarry Potter fans have a lot of questions for author J.K. Rowling, and she's always been generous with her answers, offering explanations and insights into her characters and books. But there’s one question in particular that Rowling has politely (or pleadingly) requested people stop asking. It relates to the Horcrux in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By the hashtag included in J.K. Rowling’s recent Tweet, apparently, fans have frequently asked her why the Horcrux in Harry wasn’t destroyed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets… 

Why wasn’t the Horcrux in Harry destroyed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Because Harry didn't die. 

I’m assuming the question stems from the fact that Harry is bitten by the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, and since Basilisk venom is one of the rare magical substances that can destroy a Horcrux, perhaps fans wondered why the Horcrux in Harry’s head remained intact after he was bitten and nearly killed by the creature. Thanks to Fawkes’ tears, Harry survived the bite. And from what Rowling says, Harry would have needed to die in order for the Horcrux in his head to be destroyed.

It’s not on my personal list of questions related to the Harry Potter series, but apparently it’s come up enough that Rowling never wants to hear it again. She put two pleases in that hashtag, so she clearly means business. In general, the author doesn’t seem to mind answering questions about her books to her fans, but it sounds like she’s ready to hear some new ones.  

J.K. Rowling’s Tweet was in response to someone suggesting that she put #NotAPrequel in her Twitter bio, to avoid having to answer the same questions over and over. #NotAPrequel is a reference to the misconception that the upcoming stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is to be a prequel to the Harry Potter series. It’s not. It’s more of a sequel, serving as a followup to the Harry Potter books, and centering on Harry in his adult years, and his son, Severus Albus Potter. 

J.K. Rowling’s been doing a fair amount of clarifying on her Twitter page of late. Following word, this week, that the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be published as a book, the author took to Twitter to make it clear to her fans that the book was not a novel, but a published version of the play’s script…

Pottermore’s initial announcement of the script book states that the anticipated West End stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is “officially the eighth story in Harry Potter canon.” The site also notes that the book being published later this year is the previews version of the stage production’s script. There are also plans to publish the final version of the script at a later date. So it’s not a novel, but it will give fans who can’t get to London to see the play the opportunity to experience the story as it was written.  

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Why 'Deadpool 2' might not be as bizarre and twisted as you'd hope


deadpool featured image1

Warning: Spoilers ahead

By normal superhero movie standards, things certainly do get quite weird at times in director Tim Miller’s “Deadpool” - but if we’re being entirely truthful, the film doesn’t get half as weird as the titular character’s adventures in the comics, which are regularly filled with truly odd-ball characters and ridiculous plotlines.

Of course, now that a “Deadpool 2” is on the way, you might think that the floodgates will be wide open to make things as bizarre and weird as possible, but writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have stressed that those kinds of things ultimately require small steps as a franchise grows.

It was while on the phone with the two writers/producers earlier this month that I learned about this more conservative direction for the big screen future of "Deadpool." Noting comic book elements like the existence of the inter-dimensional holding company Luckman, Landau and Lake (which once upon a time plucked “Deadpool” out as humanity’s savior), I asked just how weird we might see things get in “Deadpool 2,” and Paul Wernick explained that getting to that kind of level of odd in the movies will require a bit of time. He said:

“I think some things work better in a comic than it might on screen. That’s not to say we can’t explore some of these crazier things, but whether you’re talking about a severed head that’s talking, or Squirrel Girl, or any of the number of crazy things that have happened, I think we just have to be careful to take baby steps into territory like that and not get too crazy too quickly. We’ve got to lead a broader audience slowly down that road and I think if you were to look two or three movies down the road, you’re probably going to see a lot crazier stuff than you're going to see in this movie number two necessarily. So I think we’ll push it for sure. We’re certainly not shy about pushing the envelope.”

It’s worth noting that Paul Wernick said this before “Deadpool” managed to shock the world by making $150 million in its first four days in domestic theaters. It’s pretty clear that movie-going audiences are fully willing to embrace the bizarreness that makes the titular character so strange, and surely the two screenwriters will take full advantage of that in “Deadpool 2.” That being said, one could hardly blame them for not wanting to go too crazy with it too fast, making the incredible risk of alienating the audience.

Right now we really don’t know much of anything about “Deadpool 2,” but surely one thing that will help keep things a bit strange will be the promised presence of Cable. The son of Cyclops and the clone of Jean Grey, the mutant character has one of the strangest backstories in Marvel Comics, involving getting infected with an organic techno-virus at birth, requiring his parents to send him into the future in hopes that a cure will be found.

He is a guy with a glowing left eye, a bionic arm, incredible telekinetic and psychic abilities, and does a bit of time traveling. It will definitely be an interesting experiment to see how he’s translated for live-action.

SEE ALSO: The "Harry Potter" question J.K. Rowling really wants people to stop asking

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How these 'Star Wars' fans spent 4 years making an HD version of the original movie


han solo 1

The unaltered version of “Star Wars: A New Hope” has become one of those lost movie artifacts that are buried away deep in a vault for younger generations only to hear stories about.

But we're getting a little closer to that lost artifact.

Yes, there was a time when the original “Star Wars” was without “A New Hope” tagged to it, or a scene of a walking Jabba the Hutt chatting with Han Solo.

George Lucas has refused to rerelease that version because he believes it was an unfinished work and, thanks to technology, he was able to tweak the movie to his specifications in the 1990s and the 2000s, adding digital effects and even unused footage.

But that still doesn’t sit well for some “Star Wars” fans, and a few of them did something about it.

Calling themselves Team Negative1, a group of fans released on the internet what is now widely considered by "Star Wars" die-hards the best high-definition version of the original 1977 version of the film.


The Silver Screen Edition, as it's known, went up last month and has been circulating around the internet. It instantly became a hit on fan message boards.

In a new story about the restoration at Movie Mezzanine, the five anonymous fans that make up Team Negative1 say they spent four years and thousands of dollars to create the hi-def version. This included acquiring 35mm prints of the movie from eBay, even finding a low-fade print from Spain that cost $2,000.

The group spent years cleaning the dirt off every frame of the film prints they used, and then scanning their work digitally. After getting a positive reception online to the previews they put up of their efforts, in January they put up the movie, with plans to post a higher-quality version in the future.

According to one of the members of Team Negative1, who went by Mr. Black in the Mezzanine story, the goal is not to make an “official” 1977 release, but to show what the movie looked like in its original form.

“We’re trying to get that look and that aesthetic of that print,” he said.

Follow Team Negative1’s progress.

Here’s a glimpse at the restoration:

SEE ALSO: Ben Affleck got a piece of 'practical advice' from Christian Bale about playing Batman

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Here's what an original 'Star Wars' script looked like


We may never see what the script for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" looked like since it was under heavy security, but you can get a look at a copy of the original 1977 script.

Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew tweeted out four images of his original "Star Wars" script by George Lucas.

Here's a closer look at the images:

Mayhew has the original folder in which the script came titled, "Journal of the Whills." The Whills refers to the history of the "Star Wars" galaxy.

star wars

As many fans know, "Star Wars" was originally known as "The Adventures of Luke Starkiller" before Luke's last name was changed to Skywalker. That's where the Starkiller base name came from in "The Force Awakens."

star wars script

Here are the opening two script pages.

star wars 1977 scriptstar wars peter mayhew script

Mayhew said he'll be sharing several pages from his script over the next few days before he makes a big announcement. 

Fans think Mayhew may announce that he won't be a part of the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode VIII" and that he'll step away from the role of Chewbacca which he made famous.

The 71-year-old actor was previously in a wheelchair until having double-knee replacement surgery in 2013 to walk again. 

Production for the next film in the series recently got underway.

If Mayhew doesn't reprise his role as Chewbacca in "Episode VIII," out in December 2017, 29-year-old Joonas Suotamo may take the lead on the character. Suotamo was recruited for Chewbacca's more physical scenes in last year's "The Force Awakening."

joonas suotamo

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Why critics are calling 'The Witch' the scariest movie they've seen in years


the witch intro

As "Deadpool" looks to dominate the box office for a second straight weekend, let's put our focus on a new movie out this weekend you should definitely pay attention to.

"The Witch" is a 1630s-set horror film that has been stunning audiences since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.

The trailer has been talked about for months on social media, and tracking indicates it could make $10 million in its opening weekend on a $1 million budget. On Friday, the masses will finally get to see it.

A Puritan family living in the woods of New England is disrupted when the father leaves and the mother and five children are left to look over things only to come across strange occurrences like crops dying and one child seemingly possessed.

Critics say this one is not to be missed. Here are some reasons why.

SEE ALSO: The one thing everyone can learn from the success of "Deadpool"

The mix of family and superstition is terrifying.

As Variety puts it, the movie, a directorial debut for Robert Eggers, is "a strikingly achieved tale of a mid-17th-century New England family’s steady descent into religious hysteria and madness."

While Time writes: "'The Witch' is partly the story of a family torn apart by mysterious evil, but like any folktale, its true function is to nose around deeper, murkier anxieties." 

Along with the scares, there's some amazing photography.

"It comes as no surprise to learn that the two most important influences on Eggers here were Kubrick's 'The Shining' and Bergman's 'Cries and Whispers'; from the former come the visual style and the sense of a place possibly haunted long ago, from the latter the spectacle of incipient madness overtaking women,"the Hollywood Reporter writes.

The Guardian adds: "The picture looks as if it were shot using only available light and if that means some moments come off dark, we’re only just as spooked as the characters."

The unknown lead gives a phenomenal performance.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the teenage daughter of the family, whom they turn on for allegedly being a witch, an explanation for the weird occurrences. Expect to hear more about her, as she's a star on the rise. 

As The Daily Beast puts it: "The real discovery here is British actress Anya Taylor-Joy, whose open expressiveness is all the more marvelous when she’s forced to go from pious obedience to desperate self-preservation to orgiastic release ..."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There's finally a release date for 'Blade Runner 2'


Blade Runner Warner Bros

Warner Bros. has announced that its long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s sc-fi classic, “Blade Runner," has a release date. The film will be out January 12, 2018.

The 1982 film starring Harrison Ford will star Ryan Gosling, and Ford is reportedly returning as blade runner Rick Deckard, according to Variety.

Shooting for the movie begins in July and will be directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has built up an excellent reputation for his visually interesting genre efforts (“Sicario,” “Prisoners”).

The sequel currently doesn't have a title.

SEE ALSO: Why critics are calling 'The Witch' the scariest movie they've seen in years

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This incredible action movie looks more like a video game than a film

Viola Davis found Jared Leto's most horrifying gift on the 'Suicide Squad' set inspiring


joker jared leto

There have been many stories about the strange gifts Jared Leto sent to his “Suicide Squad” castmates, but Viola Davis’ recollection she gave to Vanity Fair may top them all. 

The Emmy winner, who will play Amanda Waller in “Squad” when it comes out August 5, said that Leto did some “bad things” while the cast was in rehearsals.

“He gave some horrific gifts,” she said. “He had a henchman who would come into the rehearsal room, and the henchman came in with a dead pig and plopped it on the table and walked out. That was our introduction to Jared Leto.”

At first Davis said she was terrified. But then she found the stunt to be motivating.

"I was like, oh, s--t, I have to have my stuff together. You talk about commitment!"

Leto, who plays The Joker in the movie, has certainly shown that he has the twisted humor for the character. We’ll see how he stacks up against the others who have played the role when we see him in action this summer.

Watch the full video with Davis:


SEE ALSO: Why critics are calling 'The Witch' the scariest movie they've seen in years

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A joke in 'Deadpool' has fans graffiting bottles of dish soap


deadpool costumeIf you haven’t seen “Deadpool,” there are mild spoilers.

“Deadpool” has been out in theaters for less than a week, and not only has it set box-office records, but it has also forever changed the way fans are looking at their dish detergent these days.

I’ll explain.

In "Deadpool," Ryan Reynold's merc with a mouth goes after a man by the name of Ajax, who’s responsible for his disfigurement. Deadpool isn’t convinced Ajax is the man’s actual name. Unsatisfied, he later reveals the man’s name is Francis and quips that he got Ajax from a bottle of dish soap. 

It’s such a simple throw-away gag in the film, but it has quickly become a favorite from the film as fans are taking to Twitter and Tumblr to show that they’re renaming — or fixing — their bottles of Ajax to reflect their true title.

This sums up our reaction.

The only one who hasn’t gotten in on the joke yet appears to be Ajax itself who doesn’t appear to have a social media presence.

They’re missing out.

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Amazon buys Woody Allen's new movie starring Steve Carell and Kristen Stewart


woody allen

Woody Allen's latest movie has found a home: Amazon.

Amazon Studios bought North American rights to the feature, including theatrical and streaming, according to a press release from the company.

The untitled film was shot last summer in New York and Los Angeles. It's a romantic comedy set in the 1930s with a cast full of stars, including Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, and Corey Stoll.

“Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection, and genuine goodwill — the lawsuits come later,” said Allen in the press release, in an apparent joke.

Amazon is planning for a summer 2016 release, opening in theaters and then going to Amazon Prime, similar to how the streaming giant rolled out Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq."

Woody Allen also has a series in the works at Amazon, which he'll star in alongside Miley Cyrus and Elaine May — an unlikely grouping if there ever was one.

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Why Captain Phasma kept her helmet on in 'The Force Awakens,' according to Gwendoline Christie


A First Order Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens

In the build up to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," one of the most intriguing new characters was Gwendoline Christie’s chrome-plated badass Captain Phasma. After all, writer and director J.J. Abrams did call her his favorite character.

What we got on screen, however, wasn’t much, as she’s only in a handful of scenes and doesn’t really have anything substantial to do. Like many "Star Wars" characters before her, Phasma never removes her helmet, and according to Christie, there’s an interesting reason why.

Gwendoline Christie is getting ready to return to HBO’s "Game of Thrones" when it comes back in a couple months, but when Entertainment Weekly caught up with her, the subject of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" came up, as it likely will for the rest of her professional life, and probably beyond that. When asked about the decision to keep her character’s face hidden, the 37-year-old actress explained the choice, saying:

"I thought it was a really interesting opportunity because as an actor I’m interested in transformation and different kinds of roles. … I thought it was a really interesting opportunity to play a female character where we formed an opinion of her based on her actions rather than the way she has been made flesh. And that concept within a Star Wars movie, a mainstream phenomenon, was very modern and interesting and exciting. … To be in it as that kind of character – she’s a woman, she’s in armor, the armor isn’t sexualized, and in the film we don’t see the actor’s face – I thought that was an exciting, modern concept."

In a climate where actresses are often judged more on their appearance than their actual performances, to completely hide Gwendoline Christie in metallic armor is indeed an interesting choice. It’s also one that cuts off a valuable tool in an actor’s repertoire, facial expressions--and to be honest, her armor even cuts down on the amount of body language she can use--and it presents a unique acting challenge.

gwendoline christieThis is, of course, far from the first time "Star Wars" has kept characters largely hidden from view behind masks.

Until we saw John Boyega’s Finn, the movies hadn’t really shown the faces beneath the stormtrooper helmets, Boba Fett never removes his mask, and it’s not until the very end of "Return of the Jedi" that we saw what Darth Vader looked like underneath his terrifying black helmet (I guess you can argue that, chronologically speaking, there’s a lot of pre-Vader Anakin Skywalker to be seen).

As is the case with all things "Star Wars," there’s a shroud of secrecy surrounding Captain Phasma’s continuing role in that far, far away galaxy. Though there are no specifics to speak of, there has been a great deal of talk about how she will have an expanded role in the upcoming Rian Johnson-directed "Star Wars: Episode VIII," which just began filming the other day. We’ll have to wait a while to find out what she’ll be up to, but I still have hope that Phasma will be as good as we all hoped.

"Star Wars: Episode VIII" hits theaters December 15, 2017, but we’ll get another "Star Wars" fix later this year when "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opens on December 16.

SEE ALSO: I saw "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," and I have one big complaint about the movie

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A movie theater chain that started in a Texas garage is using delicious food to save the industry from Netflix


Alamo Drafthouse

In this post-Netflix world, going to the movies doesn't seem to be as appealing an experience as it once was. 

Why leave the house, subject yourself to absurdly overpriced food, and sit through 15 minutes of previews when you could just unwind on the couch with some takeout and a glass of Chardonnay while watching one of thousands of titles on Netflix?

It's a toss-up, but Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is hoping to tempt potential moviegoers out of the house again.

The cinema chain began in Austin, TX in 1997 in a former parking garage. Founders Tim and Karrie League started with a simple concept: come to watch good movies – foreign films, classics, cult movies, etc. — and order food and drinks from your seat. Essentially, an indoor drive-in with "table" service. 

Their idea took off, and the Alamo Drafthouse flourished, growing to several locations around the city. Now, the chain is expanding nationally with locations in eight states, spanning from CA to NY. 

Alamo Drafthouse

The chain strikes a unique balance between standard box office flicks and more niche showings and events to cater to just about every possible taste. So between the newest superhero installment and late-night runs of "Hiroshima Mon Amour", the Alamo Drafthouse is bound to have something for everyone. 

Another plus is the refreshing absence of previews or pre–movie advertising. A tenet of the Alamo is making sure nothing disturbs the movie experience – this includes unceremoniously kicking out anyone talking or using their cell phone.

Alamo Drafthouse

Furthermore, the company's attention to detail and quality is staggering – while many theaters across the nation are trading expensive film projection equipment for digital projectors, the Alamo hires trained projectionists for every location. 

And don't fret, the food itself is rather impressive. This isn't your typical theater fare (although bottomless popcorn is available, of course). There's a full menu that varies slightly depending on location; different regions offer some more local items, like crab cakes at the Virginia cinemas and chorizo migas for brunch in San Antonio. 

From beefy burgers smothered with caramelized onions, goat cheese, or special aoilis, to premium pizzas with toppings ranging from smoked bacon to brussel sprouts, the menus inspire a certain amount of respect. 

Alamo Drafthouse food

And the drink options are far reaching, with huge amounts of local and well-known draft beers (it is called the Drafthouse, after all), wines, and special film themed cocktails and "adult milkshakes" like the Maker's Mark Milk Punch Shake. 

With such a broad appeal, it's easy to see why the chain is expanding so quickly, now that an earlier franchising legal snafu has been settled. According to Bloomberg, Alamo Drafthouse hopes to have some 50 theaters nationwide by 2018; there are 22 locations presently. 

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Viola Davis reveals Jared Leto's most horrifying act on the 'Suicide Squad' set


joker jared leto

There have been many stories about the strange gifts Jared Leto sent to his “Suicide Squad” castmates, but Viola Davis’ recollection she gave to Vanity Fair may top them all. 

The Emmy winner, who will play Amanda Waller in “Squad” when it comes out August 5, said that Leto did some “bad things” while the cast was in rehearsals.

“He gave some horrific gifts,” she said. “He had a henchman who would come into the rehearsal room, and the henchman came in with a dead pig and plopped it on the table and walked out. That was our introduction to Jared Leto.”

At first Davis said she was terrified. But then she found the stunt to be motivating.

"I was like, oh, s---, I have to have my stuff together. You talk about commitment!"

Leto, who plays the Joker in the movie, has certainly shown that he has the twisted humor for the character. We’ll see how he stacks up against the others who have played the role when we see him in action this summer.

Watch the full video with Davis:

SEE ALSO: Why critics are calling 'The Witch' the scariest movie they've seen in years

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'Deadpool' is now the fastest R-rated movie ever to pass $200 million in North America


deadpool featured image1

Looks like there's no slowing down the "Merc with a Mouth."

20th Century Fox's release of Marvel's "Deadpool" followed last weekend's historic opening— in which the R-rated introduction to one of the most unorthodox comic book characters (starring Ryan Reynolds) became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time — with a strong $55 million second weekend, according to Exhibitor Relations.  

That gives the film a $235 million domestic total, making it the fastest R-rated movie to surpass the $200 million mark (done in just ten days).

The Witch 3Out of the new releases this weekend, "Risen" took in an estimated $11 million, according to Variety. The film stars Joseph Fiennes in a look at the resurrection of Jesus.

"The Witch" finished with $8.7 million, according to Variety. The critically-acclaimed horror is another win for the indie distributor A24 (marking its best opening ever), which continues to release unique titles that finds audiences like "Spring Breakers" and "Under the Skin" in previous years. The distrib also released this year's Oscar contender, "Room."

While "Race," which looks at Jesse Owens' historic 1936 Olympics performance, took in $7.2 million.

SEE ALSO: A lock of John Lennon's hair just sold for $35,000

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