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Everything you need to know about what's happening in the 'Harry Potter' universe right now


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book cover Daniel Radcliffe Deathly Hallows split

J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" universe has come a long way since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was released way back in 1997.

Right now, there are ten books, eight movies, and one play (also published as a book) — and it's getting even more complicated.

By the end of 2016, we'll have four new books and a movie. There's also been a steady stream of new stories coming out of Pottermore.

To help you out, here's a handy guide to all the material in the Harry Potter universe. The release years are included to give you an idea of how everything unfolded.

Over the next several years, we'll be getting a new trilogy of movies centered around J.K. Rowling's expanded "Harry Potter" wizarding world.

Five years after the debut of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," a trilogy of movies centered around Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of the "Fantastic Beasts" book from the original Harry Potter series is on its way.

 The films will kick off November 18 with "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." The movie will follow Scamander as he arrives in New York City in 1926 with a briefcase full of magical creatures. Things go awry when some of them go amok in the Big Apple.

The film's two untitled sequels are currently set for 2018 and 2020 releases.

A stage play following the events of the last "Harry Potter" book debuted in London July 31.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," which can be watched over the course of two days or one long day, opened July 31 at London's West End.

The play takes place 19 years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and is centered around the sons of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, Albus Severus and Scorpius, respectively as they learn an important lesson about the dangers of time travel. Harry, RonHermione, and more characters from the original series are in the play, too, but it's all new actors who play the roles of the beloved characters.

You can read more about the play's plot here.

A few new books and stories are also joining the "Harry Potter" universe. This summer we received "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."

In addition to the stage play in London, the script of the play, referred to as a "Special Rehearsal Edition," written by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany was released in stores July 31, 2016.

A "Definitive Edition" with more stage direction is set for release in early 2017.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Someone made a fan trailer teasing the Obi-Wan 'Star Wars' spinoff movie we all need and deserve


The first "Star Wars"spinoff movie is coming in December, and while that one is centered around a group of Rebels stealing plans for the Death Star, it would be pretty nice to have a solo Obi-Wan Kenobi film.

Filmmaker Rich Willamson put together a pretty incredible trailer imagining what an Obi-Wan "Star Wars" movie would look like, and I'm wondering why this thing isn't greenlit yet. 

Look at some of these images that make it seem as if Kenobi is just hanging out on, what would be, Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine.

obi wan ewan mcgregor trailerobi wan fan trailerkenobi qui gon fan trailer

Seriously, this thing is so good, I'm sure some kids on the web are going to start mistaking it for the real deal.

The aptly titled "Kenobi: A Star Wars Story" trailer borrows footage from Ewan McGregor's "Last Days in the Desert" and suggests the movie, like "Rogue One," would take place in between Episodes III and IV. 

There's a lot of ground to cover in those 19 years between the two films. What was Kenobi doing hiding in exile? The fan trailer flashes back to scenes from Episode III, suggesting that memories from years past continue to haunt Kenobi and plague his dreams.

It's not far-fetched to think Kenobi was probably grappling with the fall of the Republic and the deaths of Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and countless Jedi. Oh, and there's the fact that his padawan Anakin turned to the dark side and eventually becomes one of the most feared Sith in all of the universe. No big deal. 

I'm not even mentioning his character appearance in Lucasfilm's animated series "Star Wars Rebels," which takes place after Episode III.

So yeah, there is a lot to explore with Kenobi's character. 

obi wan kenobi

And while we know the second spinoff movie will be centered around a young Han Solo, and the third solo film will probably revolve around Boba Fett, wouldn't it be glorious to see more of Ewan McGregor in action?

Honestly, to me, this sounds more appealing than telling a story about how the plans for the first Death Star were retrieved. Why? Well, because we already know how that movie will turn out (for the most part) thanks to Episode IV. There's not a whole lot of mystery there.

Plus, Obi-Wan actor Ewan McGregor seems open to the idea. 

I’d very much like to do one too,"McGregor told Collider in March. "I think the story between Episode III and Episode IV, I think there’s a story there. I think that’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, if there is one. The one that bridges my Obi-Wan Kenobi and Alec’s Obi-Wan Kenobi because there’s a—I don’t know how long he’s in the desert there, but it’s got to be twenty or thirty years."

Disney, please make this happen.

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21 actors you probably didn't realize voiced Pixar characters


Aubrey Plaza Monsters University Pixar

Pixar films generally become instant classics due to their stunning animation, creative storytelling techniques, and memorable casts of characters. And while some Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks or Ellen Degeneres are instantly recognizable as the voices behind the animation, other actors are harder to pinpoint.

We've gone through every Pixar film released and identified all the actors you may not have realized were cast in roles both big and small. Scroll down for a look.

"Toy Story" debuted in 1995, with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen starring as Buzz and Woody. But do you remember who voiced Rex?

That would be Wallace Shawn, perhaps best known for his role of Vizzini in "The Princess Bride."

Four years later, a new "Toy Story" character was introduced: Stinky Pete the Prospector.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

People are (mostly) really excited Zendaya will play Mary Jane in the new 'Spider-Man' movie


Zendaya Mary Jane Watson Spider Man

Marvel's new Spider-Man was perhaps the best part of this summer's "Captain America: Civil War," so fans are psyched for the web slinger's upcoming solo movie, "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Yesterday, Marvel let it slip to the Wrap who would be playing Peter Parker's longtime comics lover interest, Mary Jane Watson: The young actress and singer Zendaya.  

And people are really excited that the new Mary Jane is black.

Zendaya, 19, will act opposite 20-year-old Tom Holland's Spider-Man. The talented biracial actress/singer is best known for her appearances on the Disney Channel, but also recently appeared in Beyoncé's "Lemonade."

The big news lines up with Marvel's attempts to make their recently regained Spider-Man franchise young (the actors are actually going to be roughly high school age instead of in their 30s like in past films), and diverse. Marvel has a spotty but improving record for diverse casting, and most fans were thrilled that they had chosen to portray the traditionally white Mary Jane character as black in the MCU. 

As seems to increasingly be the case, there appeared to be more chatter responding to and opposing a racist backlash to the news than there were actual racist tweets. 

Still, there were some eye-rollingly ignorant responses. 

But for the most part, folks are thrilled (or else keeping their hate to themselves). We'll see Zendaya's MJ in action when "Spider-Man: Homecoming" comes out next summer. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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Why critics are destroying 'Ben-Hur,' which looks like the box-office disaster of the summer


Ben Hur Paramount Pictures

With the biggest summer releases behind us, we're in that strange time in the movie year until the fall releases vying harder for awards come out.

So that brings us to the release of "Ben-Hur" this weekend, the last real attempt at a blockbuster this summer.

It's the latest retelling of the classic Lew Wallace novel best known from the 1959 Oscar-winning film version starring Charlton Heston.

The Heston version will remain the one to watch, at least according to critics who have seen the new "Ben-Hur." It currently has only a 29% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.

The $100 million-budget Paramount release is projected to make no more than $15 million its opening weekend — a dismal return on what the studio put in, though it's still hoping religious viewers boost box-office numbers.

We've seen the movie, and though it has extremely strong action sequences, its two-hour running time leads to an epic with little story. It's inevitably forgettable.

Below are the major problems critics have with the movie.

SEE ALSO: 26 movies you have to see this fall

It has a bland TV movie feel.

One of the big parts of the "Ben-Hur" story is the relationship between Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and his Roman adoptive brother, Messala Severus (Toby Kebbell). Though this version delves deep into their love for one another that turns to hate, it doesn't have the cinematic feel of the Heston version.

Variety calls it "an epic that feels like a miniseries served up in bits and pieces." 

It's waaaaay too long.

Paramount certainly gave us an epic, with a two-hour running time. But the movie doesn't deliver on making those two hours enjoyable.

"Director Timur Bekmambetov ('Wanted,' 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter') hasn't a clue how to stage a normal dramatic scene in which emotions gradually build and nuances shade characterization," The Hollywood Reporter said.

The Jesus subplot is very heavy-handed.

Though the story of "Ben-Hur" is set during the life of Jesus, the latest version of the movie decided to delve deeper into that more than any of the other movie adaptations. This "Ben-Hur" has the strongest religious slant of them all, and was produced by Mark Burnett, who also worked on "Son of God."

But the shift to Jesus in the third act is so out of place you forget what the story's focus is.

"To pull that off in an affecting way requires more than the dramatic ploy of Jesus popping up to offer teachings about peace and coexistence," AM New York said.

"Every time the Brazilian heartthrob Rodrigo Santoro appears as Jesus and quietly recites verses from the New Testament, it’s as if he’s wandered in from another movie. And not a good movie,"The Chicago Sun-Times wrote.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The biggest box-office hit the year you were born


Back to the Future

Moviegoing has been one of America's favorite ways to kill time for about a century now, and box-office earnings have been a reliable predictor of what we love and, sometimes, continue to love.

Using lists of the highest-grossing films by year from IMDbBox Office Mojo, and The Numbers, Business Insider has compiled a chronology of the biggest box-office hits every year since 1930*.

We adjusted global box-office receipts for inflation through 2016 using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator. We've also included critic ratings from Metacritic (on a scale of 1 to 100) and fan ratings from IMDb (on a scale of 1 to 10) for each film where available.

However, we used 1975 as the cutoff for global box office because worldwide figures before then were spotty and inconsistent. For films prior to 1975, we've provided adjusted and unadjusted domestic box office instead.

Several franchises are represented — "Star Wars,""Terminator,""Harry Potter"— as are Academy Award winners and classics like "The Sound of Music" and "Rocky."

Read on to find out the highest-grossing movie released the year you were born:

*Note: A couple years in the 1930s are missing due to lack of information. Movies before 1930 were not included due to unreliable box-office data.

This post has been updated and expanded from its original version.

DON'T MISS: The 30 most expensive movies ever made

AND: RANKED: The 10 movies most likely to dominate this summer

2015: "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"

Adjusted gross: $2.07 billion

Unadjusted gross: $2.07 billion

Critic rating: 81

Fan rating: 8.3

Plot summary"Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance." 

2014: "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Adjusted gross: $1.12 billion

Unadjusted gross: $1.1 billion

Critic rating: 32

Fan rating: 5.7

Plot summary"Autobots must escape sight from a bounty hunter who has taken control of the human serendipity: Unexpectedly, Optimus Prime and his remaining gang turn to a mechanic, his daughter, and her back street racing boyfriend for help."

2013: "Frozen"

Adjusted gross: $1.31 billion

Unadjusted gross: $1.28 billion

Critic rating: 74

Fan rating: 7.6

Plot summary"When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Idiocracy' director Mike Judge says Fox stopped his anti-Donald Trump ads



When news hit the internet in June that the makers of "Idiocracy" were going to make anti-Donald Trump ads featuring the movie's most memorable character, fictional US President Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews), people got excited.

That's only natural: Camacho is the center of the bizarre future in which everyone has gotten dumber, including our leaders, and fans loved the idea of applying the character to the current presidential election.

But Mike Judge, director of "Idiocracy" and creator of HBO hit "Silicon Valley," told The Daily Beast that the ads aren't going to happen.

"It was announced that they were anti-Trump, and I would've preferred to make them and then have the people decide. Terry Crews had wanted to just make some funny Camacho ads, and Etan [Cohen] and I had written a few that I thought were pretty funny, and it just fell apart," said Judge, who cowrote the film's screenplay with Cohen.

Apparently, Judge was hoping to put the ads out there quietly and "let them go viral," but it didn't work out that way.

"Doing something satirical like that is better if you just don't say, 'Here we come with the anti-Trump ads!' Also, when Terry heard that announcement he wasn't happy about it," he said.

This mirrors what Crews told us about why the ads weren't going to happen when we talked to him in July:

"Etan Cohen went out and said we were making anti-Trump ads, but we weren't. I'm not anti-Trump, I'm not anti-Hillary [Clinton]. I'm not pro anybody."

Judge also added that it wasn't looking good at Fox, which owns the rights to "Idiocracy." He thinks that the network was stopping the OK to use anything "Idiocracy"-related for the ads.

"That's the other thing. I think there was a roadblock there, too," Judge said of Fox's involvement. "I just heard that they were put on the shelf, so it looks like they're not going to happen."

You can now file this under "too good to be true."

SEE ALSO: Here are the surprising first movie roles of 27 A-list actors

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Here's the 'Star Wars' movie everyone should watch first according to Natalie Portman


Natalie Portman Nicholas Hunt Getty fina

It's a question that has befuddled parents since George Lucas made the "Star Wars" prequels.

Do you introduce your kids to "Star Wars" with "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," technically the beginning of the story? Or do you start the way the franchise began in 1977, with "Episode IV: A New Hope?"

We put the question to Natalie Portman, who along with starring in the prequels as Queen Padmé Amidala (aka Luke and Leia's mom) also has a five-year-old son.

She admits she has not shown her son any "Star Wars" movies yet, but she knows how she'll introduce the saga to him.

"I talked about this with a friend of mine," she told Business Insider recently while doing press for her new movie "A Tale of Love and Darkness.""I feel you have to start with 'IV' because then all of the revelations — like Darth Vader's the father — are surprises."

It's a very good point. If you start with "Episode I," by the time you get to that pivotal scene in "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" when Vader tells Luke he's his father, it's going to be less of a shock.

"Episode I" is tamer, however.

"The thing is 'I' is very much for kids," Portman said. "But I think for the story you have to start with 'IV.'"

There you have it. The queen has spoken.

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Daniel Radcliffe and the director of his new movie argue why we need to rethink terrorism


Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Ragussis

Daniel Radcliffe will make you give terrorism and white supremacy another thought. Really.

The actor everyone (still) knows as Harry Potter gives a surprisingly nuanced performance while playing a young FBI agent who goes undercover as a white supremacist in his new film "Imperium," in theaters Friday — sporting an American accent and a shaved head.

Just when you think the white supremacists, who often literally tower over Radcliffe, are about to discover his plan, Radcliffe's Nate steers them the other way or talks his way out of a boiling situation.

Director Daniel Ragussis says he spent three years on the project, from research to conception, while filming only took 25 days. Ragussis cowrote the film with Michael German, a former FBI agent on whom the story is based.

Business Insider sat down with Radcliffe and Ragussis before a TimesTalks to discuss the problem with the label terrorism, what it takes to be a good undercover agent, and trying to talk to white supremacists.

I grew up with an awareness that terrorists come from everywhere.

Meryl Gottlieb: I saw the movie, and it’s pretty intense.

Daniel Radcliffe: Yes, absolutely. I know "enjoy" is not quite the right word but I hope you got something out of it.

Gottlieb: I did, but I’m curious what drew you to the role since it is so heavy?

Radcliffe: I’ve read a lot of scripts where they set the character up as being smart and that’s how he solves problems and then in the last third of the movie they just give up on that and give him a gun and it becomes all action and you think, "Oh just go and bloody stick to it," and this film actually stuck to that the whole way through. And then once I’d spoken to Dan Ragussis about the world and to Mike German, it became even more fascinating and felt like something that was really worth talking about and portraying.

When I first read it, it was around the time that Dylann Roof happened and there was a real reticence on the part of FBI officialdom to refer to that as terrorism... My dad’s from northern Ireland, he grew up during the troubles, I grew up with an awareness that terrorists come from everywhere and have all sorts of motivations and so it seemed like that was a very relevant thing, but I don’t think either of us envisaged that white supremacy might take this sort of bizarre jag towards the mainstream or rather that the mainstream might jag toward that by the time it came out.

Gottlieb: How do you think this movie affected the way you see terrorism then?

Daniel Ragussis: The main thing that I learned in terms of working with Mike is that it seems to be, at least in the way that it’s applied, a very subjective definition and one that’s often unfortunately politically motivated, and I say unfortunately because there probably should be a lot more consistency in terms of how we look at those things. Whether we call something terrorism or not has a great impact as to the way the law enforcement community approaches it, the way that the media approaches it, public policy approaches it and so unfortunately the choice of words becomes an incredibly important thing in terms of how our society deals with and views the issue.

Radcliffe: [Homicides] are not all politically motivated but it instills terror and in that sense it is. Any kind of murder with any sort of political or religious ideology could be defined as terrorism but as you [points to Ragussis] say, that has so much sway over how people deal with stuff and actually it might be much more useful to just start referring to all gun crimes as a form of terrorism

It might be much more useful to just start referring to all gun crimes as a form of terrorism.

, because at this point it does always almost feel like a political statement of some kind.

Ragussis: It can cut both ways because on the one hand, certain crimes probably are not getting a certain kind of attention — like the Dylann Roof example — because they’re not labeled as terrorism. Certain crimes that are labeled as terrorism are getting such undue attention and attention that really affects the political discourse in such a way as to do all sorts of things: create laws that invade our civil liberties, which is a topic that [gestures to Radcliffe]...

Radcliffe: I’m in a play about that, yeah ["Privacy" at The Public Theater].

Ragussis: Yeah exactly, so it has this massive outsize impact upon our government, our laws, the nature of our society, so it's a tricky thing because it’s sort of a very selective attention that can work both towards good or bad for the society.

Daniel Radcliffe Imperium

Gottlieb: To me, going undercover seems like acting.

Radcliffe: I made the same assumption... but actually what you do, you have to be able to maintain all the time, so it’s much easier to just be yourself — be a version of yourself that also happens to hold these views. Mike just went in and was very much him. I think he gained almost a reputation or nickname of being called something like the "Hippie Nazi" because he was so chill and would never engage with people. That was his whole thing. 

Ragussis: You want to have good relationships and be friends with everyone. You don’t want to be alienating one particular person or group both for your own safety and also for the purposes of the investigation. You don’t know which of those eight guys is actually going to be the guy that you want to foster a relationship with and follow deeper into and all the rest of it. So you actually have to use charm, social skills — you have to be the guy that everybody likes.

Radcliffe: And he said he was just incredibly helpful.

Ragussis: Yeah like he would do the dishes.

Radcliffe: Also I would like to say, Mike was doing this at a very different time than we’ve set the movie in, so Mike was doing it with like a big Casio cassette player strapped to his ankle the whole time and he had to go and flip the tape every 90 minutes.

Gottlieb: That’s a lot more pressure than the wristwatch [which Nate wears to secrety record his meetings with the white supremacists].

Radcliffe: I’m wondering if the advent of the internet and social media has made it almost impossible for an undercover to go undercover more than once because Mike did multiple things for like 12-15 years.

Ragussis: Right because it’s spread so rapidly.

Gottlieb: You’d be outed on forums and other online resources.

Ragussis: Exactly, and then you also have to appear at the trial, so once you’re outed in that way, I don’t know how you repeat. That is a good question.

Radcliffe: Yeah, we should ask him [laughs].

Daniel Radcliffe Toni Collette

Gottlieb: If you are playing a version of yourself who has these values, with something so extreme as white supremacy, how do you incorporate that into yourself?

Radcliffe: I don’t. As an actor, I don’t believe that I have to try and live this the whole time at all... Also, I think it’s fair to say, Mike is much smarter than the average person at this, so Mike’s ability and Nate’s, my character’s, ability to read and digest all of this — the world of information and all of that stuff — and to parrot it. Most of these guys, as long as you’re agreeing with them, no one’s going to question how much you believe in it.

Ragussis: There’s also a reason that these ideologies are appealing to people. There’s a certain sense of simplicity and consistency about them and once you accept a few basic premises, then you’re able to construct a worldview that’s very coherent and consistent... These are ideologies that were appealing to masses of people back in Nazi Germany all the time.

Radcliffe: I think my biggest takeaway from this film is that as much as we want to demonize these people and in a way demonize their views, we should try and find a way of getting them into this conversation

As much as we want to demonize these people and in a way demonize their views, we should try and find a way of getting them into this conversation.

unfortunately, as awful as that sounds, because the more you ostracize them and aggressively dismiss them, the more it just plays into their worldview that everything is a conspiracy against them... I think we have to try and believe that there are some people out there that in the right circumstances could have their minds change and recount this terrifying belief system.

Ragussis: And as with anything else, I don’t really know how you confront it or deal with it unless there’s some level of understanding of what it is that you’re dealing with. The problem with terms like “monster” is they don’t give you any understanding. They don’t give you any access as to the mechanism that’s going on there and why the people are behaving the way they are. I think if you’re going to try to dismantle that or change it, you have to understand what’s going on and what’s happening

Radcliffe: Absolutely, you have to engage with it.

Daniel Radcliffe Imperium

Gottlieb: The idea of leader-less resistance, that plays into that. It’s not just one uniform group.

Radcliffe: Leader-less resistance should be called out for what it is, which is a mechanism for the higher-ups of these organizations to not get their hands dirty. That’s why this exists. It’s not like a lone-wolf phenomenon. They encourage this lone-wolf phenomenon because it means that people enacting their worldview without them ever having to actually commit a crime — people like Tracy Letts’ character in the film.

Ragussis: It’s very convenient for the ideological leadership. They’re basically able to sit there and write pamphlets and make speeches and do all sorts of other things

Gottlieb: Host radio shows…

Ragussis: Exactly. And get a great deal of affirmation and approbation and even money and all the rest of it without actually committing crimes or putting themselves at risk or anything else. In some ways it’s a very cynical viewpoint from the leadership.

Radcliffe: Weird to think of these guys as being cynical [laughs].

Ragussis: [laughing] They’re not all true idealists.

Radcliffe: But that is a point that the film makes as well. This world is a mix of true believers and opportunists who are capitalizing on other people’s fears.

For more from Radcliffe and Ragussis, watch the full TimesTalks:

SEE ALSO: 26 movies you have to see this fall

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All 43 Meryl Streep movie performances, ranked from worst to best


meryl streep

Want a convincing case for the value of a postgraduate education? Meryl Streep finished her MFA from Yale in 1975 at the age of 26 (she paid her way through school by waitressing and typing) and then hit the New York City stage. Within a year she had won a Tony. Within two she had her first feature-film role. Within three she had won an Oscar. Looks like she got her money’s worth at Yale.

With the release of "Florence Foster Jenkins" this summer, Streep has appeared in more than 50 movies, in just about every genre, with some of the biggest movie stars on the planet, and some of the greatest directors of all time. And we can say — and we’ve watched them all — she’s incapable of a bad performance. Even sleepwalking Streep is riveting to watch: She always finds something in even the most thankless roles. And she’s so good that she makes her risks look like the easiest parts: You know it’s not effortless, but it can feel that way.

So, time for us to start ranking! We had to limit the films to 43, excluding minor roles (with a few notable exceptions), voice acting (sorry, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"), and TV movies (though she is great in "Angels in America"). This isn’t a ranking of the best Streep films: It’s a ranking of Streep’s performances in them. We watched all 43 and can say that every performance is a little bit different, but they're all great.

Below, we count down to the best:

SEE ALSO: 100 movies on Netflix that everyone needs to watch in their lifetime

43. "The House of the Spirits" (1993)

This movie gets pretty much everything wrong about Streep, Latin American culture (which will happen when your Chileans are played by Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, and Winona Ryder), literary adaptations, and the way human beings interact with each other on this planet. Acclaimed filmmaker Bille August’s first English-language film feels like it was produced in an antiseptic lab that attempts to create Important Oscar Contenders in a petri dish. Streep’s character makes no sense whatsoever, and she, like the rest of the cast, looks adrift and lost. By the end she looks ready to fall asleep. You’ll have beaten her to the punch.

42. "Before and After" (1996)

A bewildered, strangely tone-deaf studio drama that features Streep and Liam Neeson — back when he was a sensitive ponytailed man in a tweedy jacket, before he punched wolves in the face — as suburban parents of a son (Edward Furlong, back when Edward Furlong was everywhere) who accidentally kills his girlfriend. There’s an interesting story somewhere in here about how parents rationalize the sins of their children, but that movie isn’t this one. This is a jumbled, confused mess that has so little focus that it ends with a courtroom scene for no apparent reason. And if you were wondering what Streep would bring to clichéd role of the Mom Who Loves Too Much, stop: She mostly looks bored.

41. "Dark Matter" (2007)

Streep’s is actually a supporting role in the film debut of Chinese opera director Shi-Zheng Chen, but it’s a substantial enough part that we included it. She plays a professor obsessed with Chinese culture who helps a brilliant Chinese math student work with the mathematics department at her university. The student turns out to be unbalanced as well as brilliant, and the movie ends in tragedy. Loosely inspired by a 1991 shooting at the University of Iowa, the movie is amateurishly shot and even poorly lit; it looks like it was shot with a camcorder. It’s particularly strange that Streep is in it because her part has little connection to the plot and, you know, the movie looks like it was shot with a camcorder. "Dark Matter" was barely released in the States, partly because the Virginia Tech shooting happened right before it was scheduled to come out.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 5 biggest winners and losers at the box office this summer


suicide squad

With all the major releases having hit the big screen, the 2016 summer movie season has come to a close, and that means it's time to look back on what worked — and what didn't.

Though the lack of success by sequels was a big takeaway from this summer season, Disney was responsible for two that worked the best, "Finding Dory" and "Captain America: Civil War."

Then there were the titles that shocked us with surprising success and failure. "Cafe Society": good. "Suicide Squad": bad.

We broke down the five big winners and losers at the box office this summer:

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WINNER: 'Finding Dory'

In a summer where long-gestated sequels turned out to be box office poison for studios (more on that below), the 13-year wait for the sequel to "Finding Nemo" didn't seem to hurt Disney/Pixar.

"Finding Dory" isn't just the top earner of the summer at the domestic box office, with over $476 million— it's the top earner of the entire year (so far).

LOSER: 'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping'

It's sad to say, but no one wanted to see the comedy group The Lonely Island make a "This Is Spinal Tap" for millennials. Andy Samberg and his partners Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone created a hilarious look at a pop star's rise and fall, but the movie is one of the biggest bombs of the summer; "Popstar" took in a minuscule $9.5 million.

Mark my words: I expect this movie to become a cult hit in the years to come, just like The Lonely Island's "Hot Rod."

WINNER: Disney

Though not every title has been a hit this summer for Disney (remember "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and "The BFG"?), the big ones performed as they should.

Along with the success of "Finding Dory,""Captain America: Civil War" took in over $407 million domestically (over $1 billion worldwide), continuing the dominance that Disney's property Marvel has over the superhero genre.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

19 of the best secret categories on Netflix and how to find them


netflix categories

Netflix has an insane amount of content, but it's not always easy to find what you want.

The categories Netflix gives you access to are broad, which is made more frustrating by the knowledge that Netflix splits movies and TV shows into incredibly specific micro-categories.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to access those ultra-specific categories. All are tagged with a number — for example, "Epics" is category No. 52858. And once you have that code, to get a comprehensive list all you do is type it into your address bar after the word "genre," like this: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/52858.

Screen Shot 2016 01 12 at 9.48.54 AM

We decided to look through the list of secret Netflix genres to find you 19 of the most interesting ones. The ones we chose are a mixture of awesome, random, and just plain weird. 

SEE ALSO: Netflix's catalog is set to explode

Wine and Beverage Appreciation (1458)

Sample: "Drinking Buddies" (2013). Complications ensue when Chicago brewery workmates Luke and Kate — the best friends on and off the clock — spend a weekend at a lakeside retreat.

More examples: "The Layover,""The Irish Pub,""A Yeah in Champagne,""Booze Traveler"

Steamy British Independent Dramas (4170)

Sample: "The Look of Love" (2013). This bittersweet biopic chronicles the over-the-top life of Paul Raymond, England's Hugh Hefner, from nightclub to mind reader to burlesque impresario.

Other examples: "The Duke of Burgundy,""Filth,""The Comedian"

Movies for Ages 0 to 2 (6796)

Sample: "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas" (1999). Who stuffs your stocking with tales of holiday cheer? The one and only mouse with big, round ears!

Other examples:"The Tortoise and the Hare,""Three Little Pigs,""Piglet's Big Movie"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The new 'Ben-Hur' has the most dismal box office opening of any blockbuster this summer


Ben Hur Paramount Pictures

It looks like that faith-based audience, which in the past has brought profits to many Christian-focused titles over the years (or at least made them break even), did not come through for Paramount's $100-million-budgeted retelling of "Ben-Hur."

The swords-and-sandals epic that follows a Jewish prince's journey for revenge (and in this rendition of the Lew Wallace novel, with much larger Jesus subplot), took in a measly $11.4 million, according to Variety.

For comparison, Paramount's last religious-focused project, 2014's "Noah," opened with $43.7 million and went on to make $362.6 million worldwide.

Though "Ben-Hur" director Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted,""Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") delivered some above-average action sequences, it wasn't enough, as the movie's 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes kept audiences away.

With little competition, "Suicide Squad" was able to win the weekend box office for a third straight week. Its $20.7 million take gives the movie a domestic total of $262 million to date.

In second place was another holdover, the R-rated animated comedy "Sausage Party," which took in $15.3 million. (Only a 55% drop in sales from their opening weekend last week.)

In third was the Jonah Hill/Miles Teller-starring new release "War Dogs," with $14.3 million.

SEE ALSO: 26 movies you have to see this fall

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100 movies on Netflix that everyone needs to watch in their lifetime


BI Graphics_Best 100 Netflix_4x3

Netflix has a lot of titles to choose from. Actually, combining its original content, movies, and TV shows, you could go on an endless binge and never crack the surface.

But narrowing it down to just movies, you can put a good dent in some classics, if you have the right guide.

Well, that’s why we’re here.

We have searched through all of the titles on the streaming giant so you don’t have to, and we put together the 100 movies on Netflix you have to watch in your lifetime. 

Now get binging!

Note: Numerous Netflix titles drop off the streaming service monthly so titles below are subject to unavailability.

SEE ALSO: 20 modern classic TV shows everyone needs to watch in their lifetime

1. "13 Going on 30" (2004)

Jennifer Garner plays a 13-year-old who dreams of being 30. Yeah, we don't get it either, but it's one heck of a romantic comedy.

2. "Almost Famous" (2000)

Loosely based on writer-director Cameron Crowe's adventures as a teenager writing for Rolling Stone, "Almost Famous" follows a young man's journey into 1970s rock and falling in love along the way.

3. "Amadeus" (1984)

The incredible talent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is showcased in this stunning, Oscar-winning film.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

26 movies you have to see this fall


Snowden trailer final

As we say goodbye to a summer-movie season full of slumps, it's time to get into the more serious fall titles that will bring powerful performances and, perhaps, some Oscar gold. 

This fall includes anticipated movies like the all-star cast in the reboot of "The Magnificent Seven," Oliver Stone's "Snowden," and Tom Hanks playing the Miracle on the Hudson pilot in the Clint Eastwood movie "Sully."

There are also smaller films that should have your attention like the Sundance hit "The Birth of a Nation" and the powerful "The Light Between Oceans."

Here are 26 movies coming out in the coming months that you should not miss.

SEE ALSO: This startup wants to make sure you never wait in line at the movies again

"The Light Between Oceans" - September 2

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander prove they are two of the top actors working today as they play a couple whose lives crumble after rescuing a baby adrift in a rowboat. Based on the M.L. Stedman novel of the same name, the movie is a visually stunning look at sacrifice. 

"Max Rose" - September 2

This is Jerry Lewis' first leading movie role since Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" in the 80s. The now-90-year-old legend delivers an emotionally charged dramatic performance as a jazz musician who struggles with the death of his wife and the possibility that she was unfaithful to him. 

"Morgan" - September 2

In this thriller Kate Mara ("Fantastic Four") plays a risk-management consultant who has to determine whether to terminate an artificial being who was created in a lab.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Why the new 'Ben-Hur' is the biggest box-office flop of the whole summer


Ben Hur Paramount final

There was a time when Hollywood would put all of its chips on the epic movies set in ancient Egypt or the Roman Empire to bring home huge box-office dollars.

But it looks like that time is over.

The genre known in the business as "sword-and-sandal" has taken a hit in recent years, and the death blow may be the horrible performance this past weekend of Paramount's reboot of "Ben-Hur," a $100 million epic that only took in an estimated $11.4 million over the opening weekend.

That gives "Ben-Hur" the most dismal opening of any big wide release this summer, coming in fifth at the box office. "Suicide Squad," which has had a problem sliding in grosses each week, handily stayed at No. 1.

A trusty genre that's become stale

The 1880 book "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" has been a moneymaker for Hollywood for generations. Adaptations for the screen were made in the silent era in 1907 and 1925. Charlton Heston then played the title character, a Jewish prince who is betrayed and sent into slavery only to escape and seek revenge, in the 1959 version that went on to win 11 Oscars and includes an iconic chariot race. (There have also been countless TV versions.)

However, in today's moviegoing landscape, if audiences want to see a movie in theaters that's two hours long, it better feature all our favorite superheroes jammed in it, or Leonardo DiCaprio frozen in the wilderness fighting a bear and sleeping inside a horse.

Ben Hur MGMThough the director of the new "Ben-Hur," Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted,""Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"), put a thrilling chariot race in his movie, along with a few other above-average action sequences, it's nowhere close to delivering on the dramatics or story strength of the Heston version, even with Bekmambetov's having a scene in which Jesus is crucified.

"Ben-Hur" is more proof that audiences, especially coveted young moviegoers (94% of people who went to see "Ben-Hur" over the weekend were over 25), haven't been excited about this type of movie since 2000's "Gladiator."

"'Ben-Hur' is without question the flop of the summer, and its underwhelming performance is proof that the swords-and-sandal epic needs to be buried and unearthed at a later date to be determined," Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider in an email on Sunday after box-office figures were announced. "Certainly, without the right cast and story, these films have struggled mightily at the box office of late."

Three sword-and-sandal titles found little audience interest in 2014 alone: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was the forgettable lead in "Hercules" ($244.8 million worldwide); criticized as a whitewashed retelling of Moses, "Exodus: Gods and Kings" bombed ($268.2 million worldwide); and the best performer of the three was "Noah," though it was nothing to write home about, with a worldwide gross of $362.6 million.

exodus movie

Why the religious hook in 'Ben-Hur' didn't work

The latter two titles had a religious tone, like the new "Ben-Hur," which for some movies has helped tremendously, leading faith-based viewers to come out in droves to support them.

The $3 million drama "War Room" is a recent example. It shocked the industry in 2015 when it opened with $11.3 million (going on to have a lifetime gross of $67.7 million). And then there's Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which, thanks to its evangelical marketing, broke records during its release. It's still the highest-grossing domestic R-rated movie of all time, with $370.8 million.

But it seems like the faith-based group doesn't come out so much for the Hollywood religious epics as it does for the independently produced ones — or maybe the studios aren't marketing to religious consumers in the same way.

"Paramount originally marketed this film as a traditional summer blockbuster, but when that didn't appear to be working, they suddenly focused on the faith-based crowd," Bock said of "Ben-Hur.""That decision polarized not only mass audiences, but Christian ones as well."

So an eleventh-hour push to the faith-based demographic didn't save "Ben-Hur," but the bigger issue is the disinterest in the sword-and-sandal story to begin with.

That's not to say that a brand-name director and actor can't team to make one that's award-caliber. But Hollywood should forget trying to make these stories into blockbusters because it's hurting the bottom line and insulting audiences' intelligence.

SEE ALSO: 26 movies you have to see this fall

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A new Blu-ray set for the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Hobbit' movies costs an absurd $800


the hobbit desolation of smaug

Warner Bros. has announced a massive Blu-ray collector's set of Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" films, and it reportedly costs an absurd $799.99, according to ComicBook

The 30-disc collection includes extended versions of all six film adaptations of J. R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth novels and features behind-the-scenes footage, faux-leather-bound replicas of materials from the films, and tons of original artwork. 

But, as i09 points out, you could instead purchase the extended Blu-ray versions of all sixfilms on Amazon for $125, saving a whopping $675. 

Surprisingly, the outrageous price for the collection, which is due for release on November 1, isn't even close to the most expensive movie box set of all time. Previously, Warner Bros. sold a "Harry Potter" Blu-ray collector's set for roughly $1,312.56, and Paramount once sold an "Ultimate Star Trek" DVD collection for $3,869.90, according to Shortlist

If you're a Tolkien superfan with spare hundreds to throw around, however, this new set does look like a collector's dream in ComicBook's un-boxing video, which features "Lord of the Rings" star Dominic Monaghan guiding potential buyers through the set.

Watch the un-boxing video below:

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

SEE ALSO: Here’s How ‘The Hobbit’ Dragon Looks Without Visual Effects

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Halle Berry is in a new kidnapping thriller that looks so intense — here's the trailer


Halle Berry Kidnap 3

Halle Berry is not a mom you want to mess with in the trailer for her latest movie.

The first look at Berry's latest kidnapping thriller, aptly named "Kidnap," is now out via an exclusive to USA Today.

Berry plays Karla McCoy, a mother who will stop at nothing to rescue her son after he is kidnapped at a park. Instead of filing a report and waiting, Berry's character takes action and enters into what looks like an epic car chase that will at one point see her driving backwards on a highway.

"Being a parent, I understood this in a very visceral way. I play an ordinary mom forced to act in extraordinary ways," Berry told USA Today. "I got to put in a little of what Halle Berry would do in this situation. That was fun."

Berry actually drove during the chase scenes as a stunt driver controlled the maneuvers from a roof pod. So those petrified expressions are real.

"Driving backward in highway traffic, that was a first for me," Berry told USA Today. "That looking-back visual of cars speeding toward you at 80 miles per hour, your heart leaves your body."

This is the first lead film role Berry has done since 2013's "The Call," which was coincidentally also a thriller about Berry trying to help rescue a kidnapped teen. 

"You took the wrong kid," Berry says in the trailer before she ferociously attacks the likely kidnapper with a shovel.

Watch the trailer:

SEE ALSO: Here are the surprising first movie roles of 27 A-list actors

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This Oscar contender was shot using a new technology that leaves people 'shaking'


billy lynn final

Director Ang Lee has spent his career making movies with standout visuals that audiences have never seen before, whether it's fighting among the trees in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or the 3-D spectacle of "Life of Pi."

But the filmmaker is putting the final touches on a movie that pushes the visual boundaries beyond what anyone has done before.

Lee's next movie is "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," which is based on the acclaimed 2012 novel of the same name about the victory tour of 19-year-old soldier Billy Lynn following an intense battle in Iraq. Lee shot the 3-D movie in 120 frames per second. It'll be the first film ever shown to the public in that format.

But it's hard to gauge how many audiences will be able to see the movie as Lee intended, since most theaters can't play a movie at that speed.

The standard speed movies shoot at is 24 frames per second. Peter Jackson used 48 frames per second for his "The Hobbit" trilogy, the first time that was done for a wide release. It should be said that not everyone enjoyed the experience, however.

Business Insider has talked to people who saw the 11 minutes of "Billy Lynn" presented at CinemaCon in April, and they say they were blown away by the visuals — and that at 120 frames per second, the movie doesn't have the TV look that many complained about when seeing "The Hobbit" movies in 48 frames.

the hobbitHowever, the "Billy Lynn" war footage has been a lot for audiences in test screenings to handle.

"Test subjects that have seen some footage have commented that 40 minutes after seeing battle footage, they're still shaking," Ben Gervais, a "Billy Lynn" production systems supervisor, told Variety.

The film, which was made for a remarkably cheap $40 million, will have its world premiere in 120 frames during the Film Society of Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival on October 14.

But how many theaters in the US have the ability to show the movie at 120 frames when it opens nationwide on November 11?

Right now, none.

According to Patrick Corcoran, vice president and chief communications officer at the National Association of Theatre Owners, no commercial theater in the country is currently capable of running a 3-D movie shot in 4K at 120 frames per second. And Corcoran points out that a major factor in whether multiplexes convert for the technology is if there's a return on investment.

"That means will audiences know the difference and will it attract more to come to the theater," Corcoran told Business Insider, adding that some theaters will be able to show "Billy Lynn" at 60 frames per second.

At CinemaCon, the footage was shown using a special duel-projector setup for 120 frames, according to Variety. The same will be done at the New York Film Festival screening, according to the festival.

According to the announcement for the "Billy Lynn" screening at the fest, the movie will be released theatrically in 2-D and 3-D versions, and both will feature new visual techniques.

SEE ALSO: Why the new "Ben-Hur" is the biggest box-office flop of the whole summer

Join the conversation about this story »

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