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A popular free movie-streaming site is coming back from the dead


movies streaming

Last year, Popcorn Time exploded on to the scene by allowing users to watch nearly any movie they wanted, free of charge, as long as they didn’t mind that it was being pirated.

As expected, the MPAA took an immediate dislike to the concept, and the most popular fork, PopcornTime.io, was shut down by court order last fall.

That seemed to be that, except earlier this month, users who had hung on to the software started receiving updates again, Torrent Freak reports.

Following the updates, the software again became functional, but who was behind these updates remained a mystery, at least until yesterday.

A post appeared on the Popcorn Time Blog yesterday, announcing that the project was officially back. “After the ‘MPAA incident,’ we’re a little diminished, and we’ve chosen a new direction: we’re shifting from an active development of Popcorn Time to a more or less resilience-driven development,” the announcement reads.

That final line seems a little strange at first, but what it means is that most of the team is now working on a different project by the name of Butter, which is ostensibly legal, unlike Popcorn Time. Butter will be used as a base for Popcorn Time going forward, allowing the Butter developers to work on the project without the threat of legal action.

At least, that’s the plan. It remains to be seen whether the MPAA or other groups will look at it the same way. And in the meantime, the team behind the revived Popcorn Time prefers to remain anonymous, meaning that users will simply have to take the group at its word.

At this point in time, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who are still using these types of services. In the months following the shutdown, a number of clones popped up and were removed, with many of them trying to charge users. “The last four months have been chaotic,” the blog post reads. “We’ve seem some forks keeping up the good work and others who just wanted to attract users into a trap of adwares & malwares”

In the meantime, another alternative that is even easier to use, Torrents Time, has also surfaced. Available as a simple script that torrent sites can easily plug in to allow easy viewing of video files, it has already drawn the attention of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN.

For its part, the team behind the revived Popcorn Time says it wants nothing to do with the monetization route that many similar projects have taken. “We’d like to add that we do not accept any donation and have no interest in monetizing Popcorn Time by any way: our philosophy hasn’t changed,” the blog post reads.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/popcorn-time-team-claims-official-relaunch/#ixzz41Ffscvht 
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

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The 10 best Leonardo DiCaprio movies, ranked


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Some Oscar categories each year are decided long before the show starts, and the one you can bet the house on this Sunday is that Leonardo DiCaprio will win best actor for his all-in-including-eating-a-bison-liver performance in "The Revenant."

This will mark the first time the actor has won the prize, and all we have to say to the Academy is, "Took you long enough!"

DiCaprio has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for decades, and though he has focused recently on titles that will get him closer to that Oscar, his career has been filled with exceptionally strong performances (even if the movies haven't always been that good).

To celebrate his career we have come up with his 10 best performances, ranking them for good measure.

SEE ALSO: The 21 best heist movies ever, ranked

10. "Titanic" (1997)

It was the movie that made DiCaprio an international star. James Cameron's big-budget love story onboard the doomed R.M.S. Titanic showed that the actor could carry a major feature with his charisma (and heartthrob persona).

9. "The Departed" (2006)

DiCaprio's third time working with Martin Scorsese led to Scorsese's finally getting an Oscar for best director. DiCaprio gives a solid performance playing an undercover cop. It's certainly not his best among the collaborations with Scorsese, but it's certainly not the worst, either.

8. "Django Unchained" (2012)

Playing the sinister plantation owner Calvin Candie, DiCaprio is perfectly cast by Quentin Tarantino as the coconut-drink-slurping psycho. His performance is over-the-top, and he does quite well with Tarantino’s unique brand of dialogue. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Critics are absolutely destroying box-office bomb 'Gods of Egypt' — an epic so bad it might be great


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Sometimes a movie comes along that critics can universally get behind, and often it's an awful one.

The latest example is Lionsgate's "Gods of Egypt," now in theaters, in which Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Game of Thrones"), and Geoffrey Rush star in a fantasy tale set in ancient Egypt, where 10-foot-tall gods and regular-size — yet beefy — mortals duke it out for supremacy.

The epic cost $140 million to make, but is projected to take in only around $15 million in its debut weekend.

But enough about the movie — let's get to the venom the critics have relentlessly spewed about it. Below is a glimpse at why this movie currently has a 10% rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best Leonardo DiCaprio movies, ranked

The casting is not true to history.

It's never a good thing when a studio has to apologize before anyone has seen its movie, and that's exactly what Lionsgate did in November when the studio issued a statement offering a mea culpa for its largely white, European casting.

But all that did was tee up the first knock from critics.

"Not only does the film indulge in a right royal round of whitewashing, it also gives star Gerard Butler a brownface," Australia's the Daily Review wrote. "I don't want to make too much of this, given it's possible Butler simply nodded off in a solarium day after day. A perfectly normal person with skin and sleep issues."

The movie is a CGI fail, ...

One draw for a swords-and-sandals movie is the dazzling computer graphics it can have to show off an ancient world. But it sounds like "Gods of Egypt" doesn't even have that going for it.

"[T]he worst CG effects this side of an Atari 2600," The Wrap wrote.

"It's just there, pounding you in the face with a cudgel of disposable mediocrity and schlocky video game-grade CGI," Entertainment Weekly opined.

... and Gerard Butler isn't any better.

Butler gained his stardom after playing a ripped Spartan in Zack Snyder's much-heralded ancient actioner "300." Sadly, a return to the genre without someone of Snyder's caliber was a mistake for the actor.

"The campy part begins when Gerard Butler enters as Set, an Egyptian god with a noticeable Scottish burr," Newsday wrote.

"He'd be chewing the scenery if you could chew green screen," Variety said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

15 images that show how much fans want Leonardo DiCaprio to get an Oscar


leonardo dicaprio

The Oscars are Sunday, February 28, and once again Leonardo DiCaprio fans are pulling for the 41-year-old actor to win his first Academy Award.

"The Revenant" marks the fifth time DiCaprio has been nominated for a best actor Oscar since his acclaimed role in 1993's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."

If he wins — and he should since he's the frontrunner right now — expect a huge outcry from Leo fans everywhere. (If he doesn't you can expect one, too.)

While DiCaprio may not have any Oscar gold, he has a rabid fanbase online that has been waiting to see him in all his Academy Award-winning glory.

As the years have stretched on, DiCaprio has appeared to constantly one-up his previous performances to gain Oscar status (the man ate raw bison for his last role and bled on the set of "Django Unchained" in character). Fans took notice and made DiCaprio's quest into a series of hilariously heartbreaking memes.

Before Sunday, let's revisit the best of "Bad Luck Leo" and his constant Oscar snubs.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been waiting 23 years through five nominations for his first Oscar.

As the years have passed, fans have started to find it increasingly frustrating he hasn't gotten Academy recognition for his roles in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape,""The Aviator,""Blood Diamond," and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

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So they started poking fun, notably after a forlorn GIF of DiCaprio from the 2012 Golden Globes surfaced.

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Captain America: Civil War' will have a 'controversial' ending


captain america civil war

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in for a huge change. 

According to Den of Geek, co-director Joe Russo opened up about the upcoming "Captain America: Civil War" in a recent cover issue of Empire

Calling "Civil War" a "psychological thriller," Russo said that "the consequences of 'Civil War' will have an even more significant impact [than 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier']. In 'Civil War,' we’re going to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s psychology, and it’s an extreme shift."

Part of this shift is the ending to "Civil War," which Russo promised will have an extreme impact on fans of the Marvel franchise. Russo promised a "very dramatic ending that will be controversial for a lot of people." 

iron man bucky civil war

This is in-line with previous statements from Russo talking about the upcoming shift in the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking to The Guardian in January, Russo said, “It’s cyclical. Some new Avengers in [future movies] are going to become prominent and then maybe some Avengers might not be around any more.”

Spider-Man, Crossbones, and Black Panther will make their debut in "Civil War" and other new heroes, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel, will get their own solo films in the future as well.  

So what could this "dramatic ending" Russo is referring to be about? 

Warning: We're heading into potential spoiler territory here.

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If you've read the "Civil War" series, of which the film is loosely based, Captain America didn't survive and was later replaced by current Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes.

While the films are independent of the comics, Steve's death may be the exact "controversy" Russo is teasing. And, losing the original Avenger will certainly send shockwaves throughout the Marvel universe. 

We'll see what the future holds for The Cap when "Civil War" releases on May 6. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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Martin Scorsese’s 'The Departed' may soon continue as a TV series


the departed leo jack Warner Bros

"The Departed," though widely regarded as a cinematic classic and one of Martin Scorsese’s finest, may soon be equally known as a classic of the small screen. "Departed" producer Roy Lee, who also boasts credits on polar opposites "The Lego Movie" and "The Ring," teased the possibility of a presumably Leonardo DiCaprioless TV version of the gritty Boston crime classic in a just-released interview with Collider

"That’s what attracted me to the story," Lee says of the "amazing" concept at the center of Scorsese's 2006 film and its equally great source material, the 2002 Hong Kong thriller "Internal Affairs.""[It’s] the two moles working on either side of the law, and translating that idea into other settings with new characters, like how 'Fargo' has taken the feel of the Coen Brothers’ film."

According to Lee, discussions with potential writers regarding a television series have already taken place, with the focus on which path—network or cable—would best suit the tone of the possible series. "So it’s not anything like 'The Departed,'" Lee tells Collider of sending the action to a new city, "but essentially 'The Departed' as a TV series."

Though Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg were all more-than-welcome players in the 2006 production, they will (of course) likely have very little to do with this proposed series. However, as the internet has already decided, perhaps Lee should give Russian Leo a call to make the seemingly impossible return of Leo's character a TV reality.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best Leonardo DiCaprio movies, ranked

Join the conversation about this story »

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Here's how many new scenes 'The Force Awakens' DVD will have


the force awakens wallpaper

Since the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," there have been questions. There have been questions about who certain characters really are or which characters may be connected. One of the other questions that fans have had is, how much more is there? As with all movies, there were scenes that were shot that never made it into the final cut of the film. Now we have an exact number of additional scenes that will be included on the Blu-Ray release. The magic number is seven.

Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon are nominated for an Academy Award for their editing work on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." As such, they would know exactly how much was removed from the film, as they were the ones that did the cutting. Speaking with the Independent they admitted that there will be exactly seven scenes included on the DVD, though they wouldn’t elaborate much on them. Their bosses want you to buy the movie after all. Brandon said:

"We have been talking about [the deleted scenes]. But Disney has mentioned to us that - since they’re going to be on the DVD treats for viewers - that we should stop talking about them. There aren’t a lot. There’s one with Harrison Ford, there’s one with Rey, but there aren’t a lot."

After a bit of, we assume, polite brow beating, the pair finally gave up the specifics, with Markey adding:

"I think there are maybe seven or eight. I don’t know if that’s a lot. I remember looking at the reel. Actually, I think there are seven."

By looking back through what various people have said about scenes that were cut out "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," we can pinpoint what a few of the scenes probably will be. We know there was a scene with Captain Phasma that the editors particularly liked. We also know that there was a fair amount of Maz Kanata material that was filmed but eventually removed. It’s a good bet that those scenes will likely be included.

star wars the force awakens han solo reyWe haven’t heard much, if anything, about additional scenes that include Han Solo, so that could be interesting. The scene involving Rey could be part of her Force vision, though we’re not even certain that scene was filmed. It could also be a scene in the Cantina that we know was filmed. Certainly we’ll be curious if it’s a scene that answers any of the many questions about her that we have.

Unfortunately, we know that the deleted scenes will be included as extras, and not as an extended edition or director’s cut of the film. If the scenes are good enough, we’d love to see them included in the complete film. We’re certainly excited to see anything new from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as we had a lot of fun with the movie the first time around, and are sure we can dig all sorts of fun information out of our fifteenth DVD viewing. Are there any specific scenes that you hope are included with the disc release? 

SEE ALSO: Old Oscar photos that show how glamorous Hollywood used to be

Join the conversation about this story »

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We'll finally find out how C-3PO got his red arm next month


c3pO r2 d2 star wars the force awakens

We'll finally find out the mystery of how C-3PO wound up with a red arm in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Following the announcement of a Poe Dameron spin-off comic, Marvel announced that the beloved droid, C-3PO, will take center stage in a comic to be released in March. First announced in September, Disney and Marvel debuted a first look at the first few pages of C-3PO's story late on Thursday.

"Star Wars Special: C-3PO No. 1" will follow the fan-favorite droid on a new adventure set before the events of "The Force Awakens." C-3PO has been a staple of the legendary series since his debut in the 1977 original film, "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Here's the cover:

Star_Wars_Special_C 3PO_cover

Marvel has also confirmed special variant covers for the issue as well.

So far, details are sparse on the story elements, but by the time C-3PO appears in "The Force Awakens," the heroes are too wrapped up in the battle against Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order to listen to what happened to him.

Looks like this March, he'll finally get time in the spotlight to tell his story. Take a look at the first few pages from the story:

Star_Wars_Special_C 3PO_Preview_1star wars c 3po red arm comic

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NOW WATCH: This 3D display on Kickstarter is straight out of Star Wars

Disney spoofed a bunch of best picture Oscar nominees


The 88th Academy Awards are Sunday on ABC and if you don't know all of the best picture nominees by now, this should help you out.

ABC parent company Disney put together adorable parody posters of a bunch of the nominees using characters from the release of it's upcoming animated movie, "Zootopia."

Disney did this previously with a few other movies including "Star Wars." Curiously, Disney didn't spoof all of the best picture nominees. "Brooklyn,""Spotlight," and "Room" are nowhere to be found.

Keep reading to see all of the mashups below.

"Mad Max" is now "Mad Yax: Furry Road" starring Tom Hairy and Charlene Therdar.

"The Big Short" becomes "Mr. Big Short," centered around the "Zootopia" mob boss. And, yes, his name is Mr. Big.

"The Revenant" now stars Leonardo DiCapolar in "The Hibernant." No Tom Hairy here. He's now Tom Howly.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This woman uses her hijab to transform into her favorite Disney characters


From modest Muslim fashion bloggers to this 24-year-old racking up followers on Instagram for her account "Hijab Barbie," observant Muslim women have shown no shortage of creativity when it comes to styling their headscarves. 

Malaysian makeup artist Saraswati is no exception, and she takes things one step further by making her hijab a key element in her fantastic transformations into Disney characters, like Mulan and Ariel, as well as popular comic book heroes and villains. 

She documents her work on Instagram where her photos regularly get thousands of likes from her 68,000 followers. Check out this incredible transformation into the Mad Hatter for instance, which has over 1,300 likes.

Keep reading to see 15 of our favorite looks from Saraswati, courtesy of her stunning Instagram. 

Meet Saraswati, a makeup artist from Malaysia with a talent for creating whimsical looks inspired by comics and movies.

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On Instagram, she's better known to her 68,000 (and counting) followers as Queen of Luna.

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She regularly posts pictures of incredible makeovers that creatively incorporate her hijab as a design element.

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The inside story of Three 6 Mafia's historic Oscars win that shocked everyone 10 years ago


Three 6 Mafia Oscars 2 AP Mark J. Terrill

Craig Brewer will never forget when he tried to write a rap song in the script that would become “Hustle & Flow.”

“I would try to put in some flow, just a paragraph to get it going, and then I realized...” Brewer paused. “It just felt wack.”

Thankfully, Brewer stopped himself, and instead gave us one of the most unlikely Academy Award wins in the show's history.

Brewer’s “Hustle & Flow” came out of nowhere in 2005 to become one of the most memorable indies of the year. The journey of a Memphis pimp named Djay (Terrence Howard) who aspires to become a rapper quickly became a must-see for hip-hop fans and cinephiles alike.

hustle and flow paramountThe movie was championed by “Boyz n the Hood” director John Singleton, who came on as a producer, and launched the careers of Howard and Taraji P. Henson (who plays a pregnant prostitute with an incredible voice). It also paved the way for "Dirty South" rap, which was just beginning to hit the mainstream, giving the film an underdog sensibility as it made its way to the Oscars in 2006.

This year’s Oscars marks the 10th anniversary of when the film’s lead track, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” written by the Memphis group Three 6 Mafia, won the award for best song — the first time a rap group ever won the prize.

Business Insider talked to some of the people behind the song and movie to uncover how it was created and what its win, which was considered a shock at the time, means now.

Searching for the music

Around the time of Craig Brewer’s failed attempt to come up with rap lyrics, in the early 2000s, he was making the rounds in Hollywood, script in hand, trying to find financing for “Hustle & Flow.” Brewer always planned to showcase Memphis rap in the movie, but as he recalled to BI, in those early meetings, the executives would throw out more commercial names like Nelly, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg.

“I think they knew about five rap songs,” Brewer said of the Hollywood suits. “They would say, ‘You need to get this guy Nelly,’ and they would also say Sisqó— I think 'The Thong Song' was out at that time.”

Thankfully, Brewer found a savior in Singleton, who came on as a producer and financier in 2003, and also had knowledge of the Memphis rap scene, as he’d featured a Three 6 Mafia song in his 2001 movie “Baby Boy.”

hustle and flow ParamontEven before production began, Brewer and Singleton were planning out the songs for the movie, especially one showcasing Djay’s life.

“John kept saying, ‘We need a song that shows how difficult it is to be a pimp,’” Brewer said. “But we also wanted to articulate the absurdity of that, because it’s an outrageous idea. I mean, really, how hard is their life?”

Brewer drove that home in the scene in which Djay comes up with lyrics for “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” while walking with his friend Key (Anthony Anderson), who is struggling to carry an air conditioner. Djay never offers to help.

Brewer and Singleton were still in search of the key song for the movie when they paid Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J for the song “Pop It for Some Paper.” The two also signed on another Memphis rapper, Al Kapone, to write a few more tracks for the movie, including one performed by Djay on screen, "Whoop That Trick."

Then during preproduction, Brewer and Singleton visited Three 6 Mafia’s studio, Hypnotize Minds Camp, to check on how Howard was doing recording “Pop It for Some Paper” (which Howard would end up doing a cappella in the movie). And there, music history was made.

Creating the song

Three 6 Mafia were already legends in the Memphis rap scene before "Hustle & Flow." Members Juicy J, DJ Paul, and Lord Infamous (who died in 2013) had their own record company in the early 1990s, and sold their early albums in and around Memphis as either Backyard Posse or Triple 6 Mafia. They later signed with Sony, changed their name to Three 6 Mafia, and expanded the group, which at the time of "Hustle & Flow" included rappers Frayser Boy and Crunchy Black.

Brewer had met Juicy J in Memphis years earlier, and when Howard agreed to play Djay, the writer-director had the actor meet the rapper, which led to a mixed encounter.

three 6 mafia Stefano Paltera AP“I got a call from Juicy, and I knew Terrence was hanging out with Three 6 Mafia, so I asked how it was going, and he said, 'Man, he left.' I was like, 'What do you mean he left?'" Brewer remembers.

Brewer tracked down Howard back at his hotel and found he wasn't getting a good vibe hanging out with the group at Hypnotize Minds Camp.

“You know, their studio is right next to the jail,” Singleton points out.

"I realized what was happening," Brewer said. "Terrence was standing in front of Memphis rappers and he was going to have to play one. That's a real intimidating experience."

Brewer went back to Juicy J and explained the pressure Terrence was under. Juicy J understood what he had to do. That evening, he showed up at Howard's hotel with a bottle of Cristal and no entourage.

"The next time I talked to Terrence, he had the Memphis accent down. He transformed," Brewer said. "That was all because of Juicy. That's producing — get your talent comfortable."

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Weeks later, when Brewer and Singleton arrived for the “Pop It for Some Paper” recording, Juicy J was in another producing mode: hustling.

“Juicy felt the deal that John gave him for ‘Pop It for Some Paper’ wasn’t right,” Brewer said.

When everyone got settled in the studio, Juicy J said to Singleton, “It’s really too bad you’re not f-----g with us on that pimp song,” referring to the song Brewer and Singleton were searching for that would highlight Djay’s struggle.

“Well, you know, business,” Singleton answered.

“Yeah, but listen to this business,” Juicy J said, then hit the space bar of his laptop to reveal the beat he and DJ Paul came up with for what would become “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”

“And Juicy pulls out a napkin where he wrote the hook,” Brewer explains. “And he tells us, ‘Yeah, I was going to have the pregnant ho sing:

‘You know it’s hard out here for a pimp /
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent /
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent /
Will have a whole lot of b-----s jumpin' ship.'"

Brewer said Singleton’s face lit up with excitement.

“But you gotta get deeper in the pocket a little more John,” Juicy J told Singleton. “Because I’m not gonna give this to you for free.”

That’s when Singleton went into producer mode. He had Henson, who was also in the studio, go into another booth to record the hook Juicy just sang. And then Singleton and Brewer sat with Fayser Boy to talk about the focus of the song.

“The first thing that popped in my head was ‘it’s hard out here for a pimp,’” Frayser Boy told BI. “John looked at me and goes, ‘What did you say?’ And I said, ‘It’s hard out here for a pimp, that needs to be the name of the song,’ and he just looked at me and said, ‘That’s it!’”

“So I go in this other room with Frayser,” Brewer said. “He cuts up a cigar, dumps out the tobacco, rolls a blunt, and starts writing what later we know to be an Academy Award-winning song.”

"We got this term in Memphis called pimpin', something that's old-school, and it already had that pimpin' flavor, so it was easy to write," Frayser Boy said. "It took me only 30 minutes to write both verses."

Going out for air, Brewer came across Singleton and Juicy J chatting in the lobby.

“They are talking about what club they are going to that night, but then John would look at his Sidekick,” Brewer said, “and he would type something, and then Juicy’s would ding. ‘Oh, that’s what you want, huh?’ Juicy would say out loud.”

Brewer realized the two were negotiating the terms of “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp” via their phones.

“So from the moment that Juicy played that beat on what would be 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,' the song was written, produced, recorded, and negotiated maybe within three to four hours,” Brewer said.

A historic Oscar night with behind-the-scenes uneasiness

The conventional thinking before the 2006 Oscars was laid out by a Billboard story: “Most predict Dolly Parton’s ‘Travelin’ Thru’ from ‘Transamerica’ will claim best song...”

The biggest musician to sing in a movie usually walks away with the statue (think Céline Dion for "Titanic"). But Brewer and Singleton felt they had the ace card this year: a song that was the movie.

“Whatever people think about rap music, when they watch these characters struggle to make a song, then it becomes the audience's song, and that's what happened with 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'" Brewer said. "When I heard it got nominated, I was like, 'We're going to win it.'"


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The Academy wanted to utilize the connection between movie and music on Oscar night by having Howard and Henson perform the song in character. Howard (who was also nominated for best actor) declined. Singleton says his decision was influenced by others.

“Terrence didn't want to because people in the black film community didn't want him to perform as a pimp on the Oscars," Singleton said. "I really wanted Terrence to perform, and years later Terrence regrets not doing it."

Singleton declines to mention the people who objected to Howard performing as a pimp, saying they're some of the same people boycotting this year's Oscars over the nominees' lack of diversity.

Three 6 Mafia AP Kevork DjansezianBut Howard opened the door for Three 6 Mafia to be the first rap group to ever perform at the Oscars, doing the song alongside Henson.

“They started flying us back and forth for meetings and getting us prepared. We had to do choreography," Frayser Boy said. "We were just happy to be there."

Three 6 Mafia Oscars AP Mark J. TerrillThough the evening had better musical numbers than most Oscars ceremonies — a somber number by Kathleen "Bird" York for "Crash" and Parton bringing the audience back to church— "Hustle & Flow" was easily the highlight.

The title "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was in a large glowing sign at the top of the stage, part of which was made up to look like the room Djay used to record the song in the movie. Three 6 Mafia, who had shown up in suits, were now in their sunglasses, chain, and baggy clothes, while Henson sang the hook in a beautiful white dress (replacing the word "b-----s" with "witches"). Backup dancers played pimps and prostitutes, including one made to look like Djay.

"I'm in the audience sitting there watching this crazy music number and part of me was like, 'Geez, I'm totally responsible for this,'" Brewer said. "I was also thinking, somewhere there's an Oscar party going on and people are thinking, 'What the hell is this?'"

“I had these big shades on during the performance because I was so nervous," Frayser Boy said. "But then I saw Jamie Foxx in the front row singing the words to the song that I wrote. Man, that meant everything to me."

Three 6 Mafia were rushed to the side of the stage after the performance, as Queen Latifah came to the podium to announce the winner for best song.

“I had tunnel vision," Frayser Boy said. "Everything was moving in slow motion, and it was like me and Queen Latifah connected eyes when she opened the envelope and before she even announced the winner, I knew she was going to say 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.'"

Even before acceptance speeches could go viral on social mdia, the win was an instant classic in awards history. Juicy J, DJ Paul, and Frayser Boy rattled off names to thank, with a shout-out to George Clooney in the front row. Host Jon Stewart came on afterward and said, “That's how you accept an Oscar.”

Frayser Boy recalls that the group was the toast of every Oscars after-party.

"The first party was the Vanity Fair party, and we had the Oscar in our hands, and we walked into the party and all eyes were on us," he said. "I met anyone who's anyone that night and they all wanted to meet me. The only thing I regret is I didn't take pictures."

Three 6 Mafia afterparty Kevin Winter GettyBut Brewer’s favorite memory was the one told to him by his friends back in Memphis.

“Every Oscar night, this place called the Pink Palace in Memphis holds this Oscar party where old-school Memphis shows up. And when I mean old-school Memphis, I mean old white people," he said. "When 'It's Hard Out for a Pimp' won, they leaped out of their seats and cheered and screamed. Our win meant a lot to the city. That's where the racial lines fall — the unity behind the city itself."

The 'Pimp' legacy continues

Ten years after the Oscar win, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is part of the popular vernacular. “I’ve had preachers come up to me and say, 'It's hard out here for a preacher,'” Brewer said.

And recently we finally saw Howard and Henson perform the song that made them famous as a duo, when the two "Empire" stars went on Spike's "Lip Sync Battle."

As the years passed, Three 6 Mafia changed members and their name (to Da Mafia 6ix). Juicy J went solo and Frayser Boy moved to another label. But looking back, Fayser Boy still feels like that Oscars night was all a dream.

“It's a benefit that never runs out because people believe in your vision," he said. "You pretty much got the trophy to show what you can do."

Craig Brewer Three 6 Maphia key to the city April 2006 Mike Brown GettyAnd where does he keep his Oscar?

“I donated it to the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, so it's there now for a couple of years," he said. "I like people to see mine. That's something in a million years I didn't think I could do, and that title in front of my name — Oscar winner — is everything to me, because it means I really did something. Where I'm from, Memphis, Tennessee, a lot of people don't come out. A lot of my friends are dead or in jail. It's just a blessing to be sitting here and to show that you can come from the hood and still make it."

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 12 greatest movies to win the Best Picture Oscar

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'The Revenant' is going to be one of the worst movies to ever win best picture at the Oscars


the revenant leoAlejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, which will very likely win three of the four major awards at the Oscars this Sunday, is a dumb, gruesome, boring, macho slog that’s actively unpleasant to watch.

Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers notoriously proclaimed that The Revenant was not for “movie p------,” a phrase that perfectly and unfortunately encapsulates the movie’s tone. I am always confused by people who confuse great films with ordeals to be suffered through, a category that seems to include a lot of academy voters. If you don’t enjoy enjoying movies, find another industry!

The Revenant was a myth before it was a film, in a number of senses, and it probably should have stayed one. Loosely based on the oft-retold, unreliable 19th-century real-life survival tale of Hugh Glass, The Revenant was a famously grueling production, shot in three different countries (the United States, Canada, and Argentina) amid unforgiving weather conditions, in part to accommodate its director’s insistence on using only natural light sources.

The production went massively over budget, and rumors of on-set altercations swirled, leading many to wonder if The Revenant was destined to be Heaven’s Gate–level disaster for the 21st century, a career-ruining cautionary tale of excessive ambition and auteurist hubris.

It’s too bad it’s not: That would have made for a more interesting movie. The Revenant is better than morose Iñárritu dreck like 21 Grams and Biutiful, and it’s certainly better than last year’s Birdman, a preening, petulant mess about how difficult it is to make great art (as though Iñárritu’s own filmography wasn’t testament to this).

Even the best thing about The Revenant is maddening: It is one of the most visually stunning studio films in recent memory, with long takes winding through dusk-dappled woods, seemingly impossible shots of men floating through whitewater rapids and horses falling off cliffs. (The extraordinary Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is poised to make history by winning his third straight Academy Award for this film, and the honor would be deserved.) All this useless beauty, in service of obscuring a lazy screenplay and aggressively dimensionless characters.

Lubezki is the preferred camera wizard for both Iñárritu and fellow countryman Alfonso Cuarón and has won Oscars working with both. The difference between the two—and it’s an important one!—is that Cuarón is a genius, while Iñárritu is a hack. Iñárritu makes films for the movie-going equivalent of what Gob, the magician brother from Arrested Development, refers to as “how’d-he-do-dat”s: people impressed by trickery who don’t bother to notice that said trickery isn’t performed in service of any ideas.

Birdman was shot in a flamboyant, faux-single-take style that was impressive in a showy, obvious way, but to what ends? The technique added nothing to the film’s thematic cohesion or narrative invention; it merely distracted from how little of either the movie contained. Similarly, The Revenant’s visual inventiveness is spectacular but pointless; it’s a movie that’s only interesting when no humans are speaking or even on screen.

Wolf of Wall Street

Especially not the human who is absolutely assured of winning an Oscar for his role. Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor whose dull performance in The Revenant offers none of the cerebral intensity of his work in The Departed and certainly none of his witty panache from The Wolf of Wall Street. (Is there a more humorless director than Iñárritu? Lars von Trier is Billy Wilder in comparison.) Among the rest of the film’s performances, Oscar-nominated Tom Hardy is predictably great, save for his tendency to deliver lines in a rushed mutter that’s often indecipherable. In fact, a tremendous amount of the lines spoken in this movie are difficult to understand, a significant problem that might have been a catastrophic one if the script were actually any good.

In its awards-season push, The Revenant, a movie that never bothered to figure out what it was about while people were writing, shooting, and editing it, has sought to position itself as a righteous memorial to the plunder and genocide perpetrated against indigenous North American people. The contention loosely holds up through the first third of the film—sure, an early scene where an Arikara leader lectures a trader about how white people have stolen his land and his animals is ham-fisted, but no worse than anything in seven-time Academy Award winner Dances With Wolves.

But The Revenant doesn’t even keep its focus on this, and over the film’s final two hours native people are gradually reduced to tragically doomed, mute metaphors through which white people learn things. The sad irony of this movie’s treatment of native people isn’t that it ignores them—it’s that it’s initially fascinated by them and then palpably loses any interest. Depressingly, if there’s any element of The Revenant that can be declared “historically accurate,” it’s this.

mad max fury road

The Revenant absolutely should not win Best Picture, which means it probably will. It is vastly, vastly inferior to The Big Short, The Martian, Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, and a whole lot of other films that weren’t even nominated. But there’s one that I keep coming back to. I refuse to believe that there is anyone—anyone—who has seen both The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road and can rationally argue that The Revenant is a better film. Fury Road is an actual masterpiece rather than a pretend one, and the conventional wisdom is that it won’t win Best Picture because it’s a “genre film,” and that conventional wisdom is almost certainly right.

But The Revenant is a genre film, too—several of them, in fact, and all of them inept. It is a “based-on-true-events” period piece that’s flagrantly slipshod with its history. It is a revenge film that features a long and pointless sequence of its protagonist catching snowflakes on his tongue. It is a survival film that doesn’t even bother with the procedural elements of survival. (How does Glass survive the fall off the cliff that kills his horse? How does Glass not die in the hole where they left him in the first place? These are never explained.)

And as an action film, well, it’s just bad: The film’s climactic fight sequence goes for Paul Greengrass–style realism but just ends up being clumsy and incoherent, in part because everything to that point has been so relentlessly stylized.

SEE ALSO: How Tom Hardy went from an unknown actor struggling with addiction to an Oscar nominee

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NOW WATCH: Studios actually spend a staggering amount of money trying to get their films nominated at the Oscars

'Gods of Egypt' is the first box-office bomb of 2016


Gods of Egypt 3 Lionsgate

As Twentieth Century Fox's "Deadpool" continues to dominate the box office, staying No. 1 for a third straight weekend with a strong $31.5 million, the real story of the weekend is how badly Lionsgate's new release, "Gods of Egypt," performed.

The swords-and-sandals fantasy actioner set in ancient Egypt only scrounged up an estimated $14 million in 3,117 theaters, despite its $140 million budget, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The fate of "Gods of Egypt" was set when numbers from its Thursday-night preview were released, with the movie, starring Gerard Butler and a bunch of other white Europeans playing Egyptians, only taking in $800,000 (not to mention the horrible reviews). It's a bad start for a movie Lionsgate was hoping would at least take in $25 million to $27 million this weekend.

Though this is certainly the first major box-office bomb of the year in the domestic market, Lionsgate may be able to absorb this big body blow.

The movie received a 40% tax credit for shooting in Australia, and then adding in foreign pre-sales, Lionsgate was under "10 million risk capital," according to what an executive said on a recent shareholders call, on the film's $140 million budget.

triple 9 open road filmsBut for a studio that just finished up a major franchise with "The Hunger Games" films (spin-offs and prequels are likely on the fast track now) and the on-again-off-again chatter of a merger with Starz, a bomb like this isn't good for Lionsgate's profile.

Things weren't much better for the weekend's other big new release, "Triple 9."

The heist movie starring Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, and Kate Winslet had a $5.8 million opening, according to THR.

However, Twentieth Century Fox is riding high at the moment. Along with "Deadpool" raising up the ranks as one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time (it's now currently number three), their Oscar contender, "The Revenant," is staying steady in theaters, as it took in $3.8 million this weekend, for a total domestic gross of $170 million.

Sixty-seven percent of the film's domestic gross has come post-Oscar nominations, the largest bump of any of the Oscar nominees.

We'll see Sunday night if the movie has the same kind of success when it comes to Oscar wins.

SEE ALSO: Here's everyone who's going to win at the Oscars on Sunday night

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Meet 27-year-old Alicia Vikander, Oscar-nominated star of 'The Danish Girl,' on her way to superstardom


Alicia Vikander

Just in 2015, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander has played a famous painter, a secret agent, and an artificial intelligence that wants to be human.

It's been quite a year for the 27-year-old, and it might all end with her receiving an Oscar nomination.

Playing artist Gerda Wegener in "The Danish Girl" (opening in theaters this weekend), Vikander gives a scene-stealing performance as the wife of fellow artist Lili Elbe (played by Eddie Redmayne), one of the first identifiable recipients of sex-reassignment surgery.

But it's just the latest in a stellar series of performances Vikander has done, which also includes the hit indie film "Ex Machina."

Let's learn more about this star on the rise.

SEE ALSO: The fast-rising career of 26-year-old Brie Larson, 'Room' star and Hollywood's new 'it girl'

Vikander's first taste of success came in 2007 with the Swedish soap opera "Andra Avenyn" ("Second Avenue"), which looked at the lives of a group of people living in the second-largest city in Sweden.

In 2009, she starred in her first feature film, "Pure," in which she plays a troubled 20-year-old who, in leaving her family life, ends up in the arms of a married man.

Vikander then found notice in the US playing Kitty in the 2012 adaptation of the Tolstoy classic "Anna Karenina," starring Keira Knightley in the lead role.

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Studios actually spend a staggering amount of money trying to get their films nominated at the Oscars

How that infamous bear-attack scene in 'The Revenant' was made, and other secrets of the movie revealed


revenant leo900

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu may have insisted on making his new movie "The Revenant," which came out on Christmas Day, as authentic as possible — including having actors go through a week-long boot camp to correctly portray mountain men in the 1800s — but there was still some movie magic needed to pull off this gory revenge tale.

That's where legendary production designer Jack Fisk comes in. He's best known for the beautifully designed period settings in movies like "The Thin Red Line,"" The New World," and "There Will Be Blood" over his three-decade career.

Here, Fisk reveals some of the secrets behind the making of "The Revenant," including how that now-legendary bear scene came to be.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

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There was no real bear used in the filming of the grizzly attack scene.

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is the incredible bear attack on Leonardo DiCaprio's character Hugh Glass. The scene is intense, violent, and, according to Fisk, completely done though stunt men and CGI. And, no, of course there is no rape.

So there wasn't even a trained bear for some of it?

"None. We had no real bears on set," Fisk said. "We looked at bears, but they were all so fat. These trained bears in captivity that you see on TV shows, they don't look like a wild grizzly bear from the 1800s."

According to Fisk, the scene was rehearsed with the stunt department for months before they even got on set in Squamish, British Columbia. Then on the day, he dressed the area where the attack took place with 25-foot rubber trees so when DiCaprio smashed into them, he wouldn't get injured. The actor was then strapped to harnesses attached to cables the stunt team used to yank him around. The grizzly was then added digitally in postproduction.

Fake horses were created for the scene in which DiCaprio cuts one open to stay warm.

The bear scene was certainly not the only jaw-dropping sequence in "The Revenant." Later in the movie, as Glass sets out to enact his revenge on the people who left him after the grizzly attack, he must run from a group of angry Native Americans. To escape them, he and his horse jump a cliff and land on a giant pine tree. As it begins to snow, Glass cuts open the horse, takes out its guts, and crawls inside until the storm passes.

"The horse was built and the guts inside were created out of latex and hair," Fisk said. The props department built one horse for DiCaprio to crawl inside and another horse for the chase scene in which they go off the cliff.

"We brought in 15 big pine trees, some of them 50 feet tall. And we snowed in the area," Fisk said. "Like the bear scene, the snow around the horse was always being trampled on, so between takes we were constantly using the snow machine."

The location where DiCaprio finds the bison herd was discovered by accident.

Fisk says the biggest challenge he had on the film was finding the remote locations for shooting. That's largely because, as the movie was shot with only natural light, Fisk had to find locations with a south or southwest vista.

In one striking scene, Glass comes across a herd of bison, leading to a part with a Native American offering Glass the liver of one of the bison he's eating. Fisk said that that location was found by accident.

"We were checking out a river one day, stopped the boats at a point, and, walking up this hill, we found this large vista," Fisk said. "The sun was setting, it was the perfect time of day to see it. Everyone thought, 'My God, this is what we've been looking for.'"

Fisk and his team lined the top of the hill with bushes. Computer graphics were used to create the herd of buffalo. Fisk said only one prop bison was created for the liver scene.

"The AD said, 'Where's the second one?' and I told him a man can eat maybe 10 pounds of meat. Between the two of them they wouldn't even put a dent in it."

Fisk recalls seeing DiCaprio eat the real bison liver: "I thought Leo was vegetarian, but he went for it."

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Why 'Cartel Land,' a documentary about American and Mexican vigilantes fighting the war on drugs, could be the upset winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary


Since 2007, Mexico's drug war has resulted in the murder of more than 100,000 of Mexico's citizens and brought an influx of violence and drugs into the United States.

"Cartel Land," nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary, could easily take to the podium for the much-coveted award. The film sheds light on a less well-known part of the story: the existence of vigilante groups on both sides of the border to combat the cartels. The film, directed by Matthew Heinemen, focuses on the leaders of both vigilante groups, including a Mexican doctor who has lost faith in his government's ability to fight the drug lords.

As Heinemen explains, and the documentary reveals, initial assumptions about right and wrong and good and evil prove far too simplistic for this complex war. 

Produced and edited by Josh WolffCinematography by David Fang. 

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'The Look of Silence,' a film about the 1965 Indonesian genocide, looks to capture the Oscar for Best Documentary after picking up coveted 2016 Spirit Award


Following up on his acclaimed first documentary on the Indonesian genocide of 1965, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer has released a companion feature, "The Look of Silence," which is competing for Best Documentary at today's Academy Awards ceremony. With the film winning the Spirit Award for Best Documentary yesterday, this could be a bellwether ahead of the Oscars.

Oppenheimer's first piece, "The Act of Killing," also Oscar-nominated, was screened before some members of Congress and helped Oppenheimer win a prestigious MacArthur "genius" award.

In fall 1965, six army generals were killed in an attempted coup of the Indonesian government. As a result, some 500,000 to 1 million people were massacred over five months in an anti-communist purge of the alleged perpetrators.

"The Look of Silence" follows its main character, Adi, an optometrist, as he helps and confronts the men who allegedly killed his brother some 50 years ago.

Here, the director talks about two pivotal scenes in the film.

Produced and edited by Josh WolffCinematography by David Fang.

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RANKED: The 12 greatest movies to win the Best Picture Oscar


Al Pacino Godfather

The Oscars are notorious for not getting it right.

That's the reputation you earn when you don't reward "Citizen Kane" Best Picture, or when "Crash" topples "Brokeback Mountain," or "Dances with Wolves" nabs the big prize.

But there are also plenty of times that the Academy got it right.

In truth, there's no way of knowing whether a film will have staying power through the years. But sometimes, voters make truly great and interesting choices.

Here are the 12 greatest Best Picture winners of all time:

12. "Amadeus" (1984)

The stereotype of an Oscar movie is an overlong, stale, historical biopic. "Amadeus" could have been just that but, instead, it turns the whole formula on its head. It brings 1700s Austria to life by making it feel just as alive as the present day.

Portraying a rivalry that might not ever have existed and turning one of history's greatest composers into a spoiled, giggling buffoon, who might have been a genius by accident, the film says so much more about the past than any buttoned-up, historically accurate film could.

No movie can get the past completely right — that's both the power and the danger of the medium. The great thing about "Amadeus" is that it acknowledges that almost immediately by letting Salieri tell somebody else's story. And the fact that it works so well is a true stroke of genius.

11. "Schindler's List" (1993)

After years of snubs, Spielberg rightfully won his first Oscar ever for "Schindler's List," the true story of a German businessman who saved countless Jewish lives during the Holocaust. This is such difficult subject matter and it is truly incredible to see the way Spielberg handles it. He spares none of the awful details and yet finds a ray of light in a horrible world during a horrible period of time. This is quite simply essential viewing.

10. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)

"The Silence of the Lambs" is notable for two big reasons.

First off, it's the only horror film to win Best Picture. The character of Hannibal Lecter himself is bigger than just one film, but "The Silence of the Lambs" delivers the goods. This is the perfect horror movie for the Academy, as it is one that relies less on gore (though it is there) and more so on mounting dread. If a horror movie was going to win the big prize, it was going to be the one with the most likable cannibal of all time.

Secondly, it was released on February 14, 1991, basically a full year before the actual Oscar ceremony. So it proved that awards aren't just for that stretch of movies released during the last two weeks of every year.

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People online can't stop mistaking Oscar-nominated 'Room' for one of the worst movies of all time


brie larson room lone A24

"Room," a drama about a young woman kidnapped and forced to live in an 11 foot by 11 foot shed, is nominated for several awards Sunday at the 88th Academy Awards, including best picture. 

Not nominated is 2003's "The Room," an infamous cult movie with a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But some people online — and on the red carpet — are having a hard time keeping the two straight. 

Check it out. 

 While actor Jacob Tremblay from "Room" is definitely "cute," we promise he wasn't in "The Room." 


It's not just people online. This Twitter user noted the ABC host at the event also got the two movies mixed up. 

Luckily for them, some people are using Twitter to provide a very important "Room" versus "The Room" public service announcement. 

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