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The first reviews for 'Harry Potter' spin-off 'Fantastic Beasts' are out and they're pretty lukewarm

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fantastic Beasts

The first reviews for the first "Harry Potter" prequel series "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" are out and they're pretty lukewarm. 

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B- calling the film “oddly lifeless" while The Hollywood Reporter called the return to author J.K. Rowling's magical world "far from perfect, but action-packed and splendid-looking." Variety referred to the film as "bleak-as-soot," while IGN said that "crazy creatures aren't enough to recapture the magic."

The film, following the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York City in the 1920s, is set to be the first of five in a series of new "Harry Potter" spin-off films spanning decades before young Potter's adventures at Hogwarts. David Yates, who directed "Beasts," and four previous "Potter" movies, has already been named the director of every forthcoming sequel in the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise.

While more reviews will roll out in the days to come before the film's release in theaters November 18, here's what early reviews are saying about "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

The visuals are magical.

fantastic beasts creatures

ScreenCrush: "Yates also does a great job visualizing the inside of Newt’s suitcase, which contains the creatures’ various ecosystems and habitats. Newt walks from an Arizona desert to a rainforest to an arctic tundra like sets on a movie stage. Rowling and Yates succeed at transporting you to a magical world you don’t want to leave."

… But the cast doesn’t work as well together as the original "Potter" crew.

fantastic beasts witches

The Hollywood Reporter: "Whether or not the ensemble chemistry ever clicks to the extent it did for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, Rowling clearly has an endless supply of lore left to share with those invested in her world."

Cinemablend: "Samantha Morton's scaremonger Mary Lou Barebone lacks any edge, Colin Farrell's Percival Graves is vaguely menacing but mostly just uncomfortably brooding, while Ezra Miller's performance as Credence Barebone is too cumbersome to ever feel sufficient. The biggest problem, though, is that they each feel more like placeholders, ones that will instantly be discarded when the larger threat of the franchise presents itself."

IGN: "That the group never quite clicks together in the right way is a huge reason the rest of the movie doesn’t find its footing."

Collider: "Rowling tries building in romances between Newt and Tina and another between Jacob and Tina’s sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and while I can believe that these are all characters who like each other, we’re meant to believe that they’re in love by the end, and that’s a bit of a stretch."

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is a crowd pleaser.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer

Cinemblend: "Fantastic Beasts is immediately boosted by the fact that it's led by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything), who emanates a quaint, peculiar likeability that manages to pull you in as he makes Newt a combination of Steve Irwin, Indiana Jones, and Charlie Chaplin."

The Guardian: "There’s a moment when he has to 'whisper' an errant animal into submission and his contortions would put Andy Serkis to shame."

The beasts are the best part of the film.

fantastic beasts niffler

IGN: "The film does make good on its selling point by introducing a wide array of delightfully strange magical creatures. The best scene sees Newt giving Jacob a tour of the makeshift menagerie inside his enchanted suitcase. Everything from the snake-birds to the blowfish-tigers are exquisitely rendered and teeming with majestic wonder. Really, anytime the fantastic beasts are on screen -- especially the thieving, too-cute-for-words Niffler -- the movie comes alive, the music swells, and you get that little kick of magic you expect from Rowling’s Wizarding World."

The film isn’t just about "fantastic beasts." It has another message that may come at a crucial time post-election season.

Variety: "'Fantastic Beasts' does double-duty as yet another imagination-tickling fantasy adventure and a deeply troubled commentary on tolerance, fear, and bigotry in the world today."

That commentary on tolerance is being compared to how mutants are viewed in America in X-Men movies, but not in a good way.

Entertainment Weekly: "The film, directed by seasoned Potter pro David Yates, unspools like a kiddie version of the X-Men flicks."

It’s a bit over-stuffed, setting up future sequels.

ScreenCrush: "The second half of the film is so overstuffed and busy with subplots that it begins to lose shape. There’s a minor plot about Jon Voight’s newspaper titan that seems unimportant, but will likely fold into the sequels."

Fantastic Beasts shaw

TheWrap: "Whilst many of the individual episodes are exciting and visually inventive in themselves, there’s an overall lack of cohesion, which might be understandable given this is Rowling’s first screenplay, a skill requiring far more economy than her large novels ever exercised … It has the now-predictable rhythms of a Marvel origins movie."

EW delivers the harshest of the reviews we’ve read:

"Fantastic Beasts is two-plus hours of meandering eye candy that feels numbingly inconsequential. Maybe this is all necessary table-setting that will lead to bigger payoffs in chapters 2 through 5. I hope so. Because for a movie stuffed with so many weird and wondrous creatures, there isn’t nearly enough magic."

At least fans will enjoy it?

fantastic beasts eddie redmayne

THR: Much of the film's big wizarding-politics material will be appreciated mostly by those who thirst for ever more backstory in Rowling's universe. It will doubtless be useful as the franchise progresses, though — the main villain, Gellert Grindelwald, makes the kind of teasing appearance at the end that promises a long Voldemort-like story arc.

Variety: "'Fantastic Beasts' has clearly been designed for the most devoted of Rowling’s fans, and though it may prove confusing to newcomers, the faithful will appreciate the fact the film never talks down to its audience."

Overall:

If you’re any sort of Potter fan — it’s tough to miss out on such a phenomenon — you’re probably going to head out to see the film regardless, especially since two big characters from the series (Dumbledore and Grindelwald) are referenced in the new movie. The beasts in the trailers look like reason enough to revisit the magical world of "Harry Potter."

Our suggestion? You probably won’t need to see it in 3D. Myself and a few colleagues will be seeing the film early next week and none of the screenings will be in that format.

You can watch the latest trailer for the movie below:

 

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Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement for one last movie

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Spirited Away Anime Director Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, one of Japan’s largest and most famous animation studios, has had a long and storied career in anime. The studio was founded back in 1985 along with Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Miyazaki and Takahata, both prolific directors, had spent years in the Japanese film industry before joining forces. While Miyazaki has an impressive list of achievements, he’s most known for Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away; the latter of which has been nominated for and won more awards than any of his other films. Last anyone heard, the director had been working on a short film, Boro the Caterpillar.

Famous for his recurring themes of anti-militarization, environmentalism, an obsession with flight, and even feminism and dynamic female characters, Miyazaki was never one to shy away from politics or controversy. In fact, he refused to appear at the Academy Awards in 2003 when Spirited Away was nominated (and won) best animated feature because he disagreed with the US military involvement in Iraq. Whether he got tired of the industry itself or just needed some time to himself, Miyazaki announced what many assumed was his final retirement in 2013. But his 50+ years in the animation industry must have proved too much to just rest on his laurels.

Miyazaki has been in and out of retirement for the better part of two decades, with the first stint in 1998 after he declared that Princess Mononoke would be his last film. Six films and 18 years later, Anime News Network (via CBR) reports that Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement yet again to bring a hairy caterpillar to life. The director was unhappy with a short for the Ghibli Museum, and has instead proposed a feature film for Boro the Caterpillar. The piece has been in development for just about 20 years, and Miyazaki simply describes it as the “story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar. So tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers.”

Hayao Miyazaki Studio Ghibli DirectorThe Japanese television special, “The Man Who is not Done: Hayao Miyazaki,” said the the 75 year old animator and director expects that his Boro the Caterpillar piece would take an estimated five years to finish. There were even some dark comments from former partner Toshio Suzuki, who joked that Miyazaki would “draw storyboards until he dies” while another member of the Studio Ghibli staff added the icon’s death would be great for movie ticket sales.

Miyazaki may be diving back into work on Boro the Caterpillar, but the project still hasn’t been officially greenlit. Whether or not the idea officially moves from short to feature-length remains to be seen, but Miyazaki is keeping busy by still animating other shorts exclusively for the Studio Ghibli Museum.

There is no word yet on when Boro The Caterpillar is expected to be completed.

Source: Anime News Network (via CBR)

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Mark Wahlberg takes on the Boston Marathon bombing terrorists in 'Patriots Day' trailer

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Patriots Day CBS Films final

Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg have suddenly become the go-to pair in Hollywood when it comes to looking at past tragedies.

Earlier this year they teamed to make "Deepwater Horizon," which looked at the 2010 offshore drilling rig explosion that led to the worst oil spill in US history.

Now they return for "Patriots Day," an account of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the citywide manhunt that followed for the people behind it.

Expect the same kind of intimate storytelling in "Patriots" that led "Horizon" to earn over $100 million worldwide.

Wahlberg plays a Boston police sergeant who was working the marathon when the bombing happened. The film also stars John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan.

The movie opens December 21 in limited release and nationwide January 13. Watch the official trailer below.

 

SEE ALSO: 14 TV shows you're watching that are probably going to be canceled

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The trailer for Scarlett Johansson's sci-fi mind-bender 'Ghost in the Shell' is beyond cool

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Ghost in the Shell Paramount final

In the making since Steven Spielberg acquired the rights in 2008, the beloved Japanese manga and anime franchise "Ghost in the Shell" is finally getting a live-action adaptation. 

In the new film from director Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman"), Scarlett Johansson plays The Major, a cyborg policewoman in a near-future Japan who is on the hunt for cyber-terrorists.

Though the movie doesn't come out until March 2017, it has had to deal with some negative press. In April, reports surfaced that the film did visual-effects tests to make actors in the movie look more Asian. This is on top of the negative internet reaction to Johansson, a white American, being cast in the lead role (who is supposed to be Japanese) instead of an Asian actor.

Nevertheless, excitement for the movie is building, especially with the stunning visuals being shown off. Paramount went live with the first official trailer on Sunday, and it's already been viewed over 2 million times.

Based on what we can see, Johansson's "Ghost in the Shell" follows the general outline and scenes of the original 1995 "Ghost in the Shell" anime film, which is legendary among fans — in particular recreating one shot. But the modern techniques, and Johansson's steely gaze, certainly add another dimension.

Watch the trailer below:

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Donald Glover's costar says he'll bring 'visibility' to Lando, who was 'kind of lost' in 'Star Wars'

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donald glover

"Atlanta" star Brian Tyree Henry is thrilled that the FX comedy's creator and his costar Donald Glover has been tapped to play young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming "Star Wars" standalone movie about Han Solo.

"I can’t think of a better choice for Lando Calrissian than Donald Glover," Henry, 34, recently told Business Insider. "I know for a fact he’s going to smash it."

Billy Dee Williams played Lando in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." The character was a crafty smuggler who later became a rebel hero. The character has also been seen in other parts of the "Star Wars" universe of comics, novels, and cartoons. 

"He’s going to bring something fresh, something new to Lando Calrissian and bring a visibility to a character that was kind of lost in the fray, sometimes, in that franchise," Henry said of what Glover will do in the part.

lando calrissian star warsIn the Disney-Lucasfilm standalone movie, Glover — who starred on the comedy show "Community" before creating and starring on "Atlanta"— will play Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld.

"I just love that it’s going back to the backstory of Han and Lando, that friendship," Henry told us. "And I think that Donald is absolutely going to showcase himself and his great talent by playing Lando. If he’s this generation’s Billy Dee, I’m all for it. I think it’s fantastic."

Still without a title, the "Han Solo" movie is scheduled for a 2018 release. "Atlanta" will return for its second season in 2017.

SEE ALSO: 'Atlanta' star Brian Tyree Henry explains why he voted for Hillary Clinton: 'I'm conscious, I have a soul'

DON'T MISS: Donald Glover talks new FX show: 'I just knew there was a hunger for Atlanta s--- like that'

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Actor Michael Shannon says 'I could very easily just not do this anymore and not miss it'

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Michael Shannon Charley Gallay Getty final

Actor Michael Shannon has built an incredible career, evolving from "that guy" who stood out in countless small roles to currently being one of the most sought-after character actors working in the business.

Whether it's playing Prohibition agent-turned-gangster Nelson Van Alden for four seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," his Oscar-nominated role in "Revolutionary Road," the determined General Zod in "Man of Steel," or his Oscar-worthy performance as a darkly comedic lawman in the upcoming "Nocturnal Animals," Shannon performs with an intensity that few can match.

But Shannon, 42, admitted that the workload may be getting to him when talking to Business Insider.

In 2016, Shannon will appear in 10 films by the end of the year, including "Frank & Lola" (in theaters December 9), a Las Vegas-set drama for which he admits he didn't make much money. And this isn't his only low-budget movie this year that he didn't do for the money. He said he basically did "Wolves," which played at the Tribeca Film Festival, for free.

"I didn't make any money doing 'Frank & Lola' or 'Wolves,'" Shannon recently told Business Insider. "I told myself basically when I did 'Wolves' I'm not doing this anymore. I'm done. From now on the conditions are going to be different."

He plans to stop doing the low-budget movies and work less. But he won't succumb to doing mediocre work just to pay the bills.

"I find that disgusting," he said. "Honestly, I could very easily just not do this anymore and not miss it."

frank and lola universal picturesShannon said he now basically makes demands before taking roles.

"Because why not? I don't have anything to lose," he said.

When pressed on how serious he is about walking away from acting, Shannon said he has other interests, ranging from music to the environment.

"Frankly, I have a lot of concerns about the world and sometimes I think that acting is not contributing in a meaningful way," he said. "I can't say exactly what I would do instead, but something more helpful."

Michael Shannon fans shouldn't get too upset, though. There are directors he'll always drop everything for, and based on how freakishly good Shannon is at acting, that's a sure bet.

"If I just did whatever Jeff Nichols ('Mud,' 'Loving'), Ramin Bahrani ('99 Homes'), and Liza Johnson ('Elvis & Nixon') told me to do, I would be fine with that," he said. "And if Paul Thomas Anderson and David Lynch happened to call once in a while."

SEE ALSO: 23 documentaries on Netflix right now that will make you smarter

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Here's everything you need to know about Johnny Depp in the 'Fantastic Beasts' movies

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Johnny Depp Frazer Harrison Getty final

Warning: Spoiler below about a character in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

If you've read up on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in the last few weeks, it’s really no longer a secret: Johnny Depp is playing Gellert Grindelwald in the "Harry Potter" spin-off franchise.

He has a very brief (and cleverly placed) cameo in “Fantastic Beasts” (opening in theaters on Friday), but Depp will really sink his teeth into the character for the sequel, which is currently set for a 2018 release.

For “Fantastic Beasts” producer David Heyman, the casting of Depp was a no-brainer.

“Grindelwald is a major character and it's pretty big shoes to fill,” Heyman recently told Business Insider. “So you want someone who is charismatic, who is brave as an actor, who can stand up and is iconic. Johnny is one of the few actors who has created several iconic characters and he's brave, he's a great artist, he's a great actor. So we went to Johnny and he said yes.”

Heyman said Depp was cast a year and a half ago, after principal photography on “Fantastic Beasts” had wrapped. Depp came on for a few additional shooting days in the beginning of 2016.

Set in the late 1920s, “Fantastic Beasts” follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard who is in the midst of taking a break in New York City from studying beasts around the world. But when the beasts begin to escape from his suitcase, the race is on to capture them all.

fantastic beasts creaturesThe subplot to that involves dark wizard Grindelwald, who is wreaking havoc in Europe and could be heading toward the US.

“Fantastic Beasts 2” will likely delve deeper into the relationship between Gindelwald and Albus Dumbledore, a character Heyman confirmed to Business Insider will also be in the sequel.

Recently, press attention to Depp has been more focused on his private life than his screen work.

In May, actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from Depp after 15 months of marriage. Less than a week later she filed a domestic violence restraining order against Depp. In August they settled the case

Though Depp was cast in the franchise long before the divorce and domestic abuse case, it'll be interesting to see if fan reaction to the casting will affect how “Fantastic Beasts” screenwriter/“Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling and director David Yates use the Grindelwald character moving forward.

At the moment, Rowling is keeping the focus on Depp’s talents, saying at the film’s premiere that she’s “delighted” by the casting and that he’s done “incredible things” with the role already. 

SEE ALSO: "Westworld" actor says few people on the show knew about Sunday's shocking turn of events for his character

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Ryan Reynolds says he had a 'nervous breakdown' after finishing 'Deadpool'

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ryan reynolds deadpool

Ryan Reynolds' superhero movie "Deadpool" was a huge box-office success when it debuted in February, but the years worth of work that went into it reportedly took a toll on its lead actor. 

In an interview with GQ, Reynolds revealed that the 11-year process of getting "Deadpool" in theaters brought him to the brink of a "nervous breakdown" once the production came to a close.

"I felt like I was on some schooner in the middle of a white squall the whole time," he said. "It just never stopped. When it finally ended, I had a little bit of a nervous breakdown. I literally had the shakes.

"I went to go see a doctor because I felt like I was suffering from a neurological problem or something," he continued. "And every doctor I saw said, 'You have anxiety.'"

"Deadpool" went on to rake in over $782 million at the worldwide box office, and Reynolds now sees the film's runaway success as "vindication" for the years of toiling with 20th Century Fox to get the movie made. 

"There's a certain vindication that comes with that, especially because the studio — granted, under different regimes — for years just kept telling us to go f--- ourselves sterile."

Following the movie's box-office domination this year, 20th Century Fox is reportedly in the process of making two "Deadpool" sequels, neither of which have release dates at this point.  

SEE ALSO: Why the 'Deadpool' sequel is suddenly in big trouble

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The director of 'Finding Nemo' says he made the movie because he was bothered by a scene in 'The Lion King’

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Finding Nemo Bruce

The INSIDER Summary:

• "Finding Nemo" director Andrew Stanton was unimpressed by an early cut of "The Lion King."
• He thought the movie romanticized the animal kingdom.
• He made "Finding Nemo," in part, as a movie that took place in a dangerous animal kingdom.


 

When "The Lion King" came out in June of 1994, Andrew Stanton was working on his own animated film. It was an experiment called "Toy Story," from a small studio few had heard of at the time called Pixar.

Stanton — who went on to direct "A Bug's Life,""Finding Nemo,""Wall-E," and "Finding Dory" at Pixar — saw an early cut of "The Lion King." He had some issues with it.

"I remember just slamming on it," Stanton told INSIDER while discussing the Blu-Ray release of "Finding Dory.""Show’s what I know... I was a hotheaded, piss and vinegar 20-something."

In particular, Stanton took issue with "The Lion King's""Circle of Life" scene, which he thought presented a romanticized view of the animal kingdom.

The Lion King Disney

"I thought, oh, this is sort of whitewashing the whole idea that things actually want to kill everything else in nature," Stanton said. "And I thought, could you make a movie that’s more like 'Bambi,' where you work more with the rules of nature, where everything wants to eat you?"

"Finding Nemo" was, in part, an attempt to make a movie with that approach. As Nemo, Marlin, and Dory traveled around the ocean, they bump into dangerous sea creatures.

"Nemo is working with the real world, the real predatory world, and was definitely a response to that movie," Stanton said. "I liked working with the limitations of the rules of nature, as opposed to breaking the rules and saying everything’s in it for the 'circle of life.'"

finding nemo dory whale

The split between "The Lion King" and "Finding Nemo" demonstrates how Pixar approached animated movies in a totally different way than Disney did.

In the early '90s, movie animation was dominated by Disney and its musicals, like "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast." Pixar, however, employed digital animation instead of hand-drawn work, and explicitly avoided the pressure to be musicals.

"We’d resisted the advice of Disney executives who believed that since they’d had such success with musicals, we too should fill our movie with songs," Pixar president Ed Catmull wrote in "Creativity, Inc." (Disney bought Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion.)

toy story disney

"Toy Story," Pixar's first feature-length film, ended up being a smash success. But for the five years that the animation team was working on it, they knew it was a risk.

"The hundred or so men and women who produced it had weathered countless ups and downs as well as the ever-present, hair-raising knowledge that our survival depended on this 80-minute experiment," Catmull wrote.

Three "Toy Story" movies later, it's pretty safe to say the first one worked out. Pixar is now one of the most-loved movie studios in the world.

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This deleted 'Finding Dory' scene solves one of the big mysteries of the sequel

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Finding Dory tank gang

The INSIDER Summary:

• In "Finding Dory," a group of fish called the Tank Gang show up in a post-credits scene.
• An earlier vision for the movie had them helping Marlin and Nemo to find Dory.
• A deleted scene on the film's Blu-Ray shows what might have been.


 

2003's "Finding Nemo" ends with Marlin and his son Nemo reunited. But it also ends with a mini cliffhanger: the Tank Gang, a posse of fish stuck with Nemo in a dentist's office, makes it to the ocean stuck in plastic bags.

What happened to them? Did they ever get out of the bags?

In "Finding Dory," this year's sequel to "Nemo," the gang shows up in a short post-credits scene. They're still in their plastic bags, now encrusted with algae, and end up at the Marine Life Institute in California, where Dory, Nemo, and the rest of the crew just left.

Tank Gang finding dory deleted scene

So how did they get there?

In the early stages of "Finding Dory," the Tang Gang were going to have their own subplot, co-director Angus MacLane told INSIDER. Ultimately, it was decided they distracted too much from Dory's story.

"We ended up having to cut it out because it was serving a B-storyline about Marlin and Nemo’s changing relationship," said MacLane. "That was something that was tremendously entertaining but we had to cut it from the movie because it was disrupting the audience’s understanding of what was important in the movie."

An extensive 15-minute series of deleted scenes, which can be found on the movie's Blu-Ray and DVD extras, shows what might have been. In this vision of the movie, the Tank Gang joins up with Marlin and Nemo to track down Dory.

finding dory

In a short snippet released online, the gang are free of their individual plastic bags — they're now trapped in a water jug — and work as a team to pull off a heist and take over a ship so that they could reach the Marine Life Institute, where they would eventually find Dory.

It doesn't go too well. But it demonstrates a totally different approach to the movie, where more of the emphasis was on Marlin and Nemo finding Dory, and less on Dory having her own journey of self-discovery.

Check out a clip from the Blu-Ray feature below:

 

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15 photos that have us excited for next year's live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' movie

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belle beauty and beast

"Beauty and the Beast" is my second favorite animated Disney movie of all time ("The Lion King" is the first). So I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I first learned the movie was being adapted into a live-action picture.

Then the first photos emerged. While many were excited, I couldn't help but feel slightly underwhelmed by the Beast and a bit skeptical of the design for Lumiere and Mrs. Potts. 

Finally, Disney premiered the first official trailer for the movie Monday morning and it has restored my faith in the tale as old as time. Dan Stevens sounds like the Beast we know, Belle seems like she's been updated and remixed for the 21st century, and Cogsworth is downright adorable.

Keep reading to see what has us excited for the movie next March.

Belle's look helps bring her into the 21st century.

Emma Watson told Entertainment Weekly that one of the changes to Belle's ensemble would be switching out her flats to more durable, practical footwear.

While Belle's footsteps echoing inside the castle and down the stone steps to the basement are one of my favorite sounds in the film, the shoes just never made sense for horseback riding.



Look at the basic flats she originally wore compared to her new shoes.



This won't be a straight-forward adaptation of the animated tale we know — and that's great.

So far, Disney's live-action adaptations of "Maleficent" and "The Jungle Book" have thrived in theaters. Both have deviated from following their animated predecessors by adding more context to the original stories to explore other characters and add more depth to the overall narrative. 

"Beauty and the Beast" will definitely be making some changes and additions from the animated tale as well. One of them appears to be how Belle's father Maurice winds up with the Beast. 

In the animated movie, Maurice lost his way while heading to an inventor's fair and wound up at the Beast's castle. It was always a little tough to believe that Belle's inventor father would head down a dark path instead of a brighter, sunnier road. Here, it looks like Belle's father just plucked a flower from the wrong garden — something more in line with the original tale— and wound up in the Beast's unfortunate care.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Pixar puts Easter eggs in its movies 'out of sheer boredom'

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Woody, Toy Story, number

The INSIDER Summary:

• Pixar fills its movies with hidden references to other movies. 
• Director Andrew Stanton says its because the animators get bored.


 

Pixar movies are filled with Easter eggs. Often they're references to other Pixar films hidden in the background of scenes. Fans like to look for them, and they're rewarding to find.

Andrew Stanton, the co-director of Pixar's most recent movie, "Finding Dory," told INSIDER animators make Easter eggs because they get bored at their job and want to mess around.

"Most of it, to be frank, comes out of sheer boredom," Stanton said. "We work on these films for four years, and I defy anybody who works on the same thing for four years not to get impish and want to mess with stuff."

It makes sense. If you're an animator spending hours configuring the precise shade of blue on Dory's left fin when the sun is at a 23-degree angle at the sky, you might get restless and want to have a bit of fun. And the Easter eggs tend to be suggested by the animators, not the higher-ups working on story development.

"We kind of promote anything that keeps people making their job fun," Stanton said. "It’s not like there’s a big war room and then people map it out like that."

Stanton appreciates it when the audiences picks up on the Easter eggs. It tells him that people are paying attention, and lovingly poring over the details.

"It's just a stamp of approval," Stanton said. "It means that people are focusing and really watched your movie."

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'Finding Dory' co-director says the criticism of the film's most controversial character is completely off target

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Finding Dory gerald sea lions

The INSIDER Summary:

• Some people think Gerald the sea lion in "Finding Dory" is an offensive representation of people with cognitive disabilities.
• Co-director Andrew Stanton wanted to portray him as a "nerd" who's ultimately victorious.
• Stanton describes Gerald as "a cathartic autobiography for all of us animation nerds."


 

One of the funniest characters in "Finding Dory" is Gerald, the hapless sea lion. Throughout the movie, he tries to scheme his way onto a rock with fellow sea lions Fluke and Rudder.

Gerald looks different than the other sea lions. He has a vacant expression, a fixed smile, and a prominent brow. To some viewers, he appeared to be a tactless representation of people with cognitive disabilities.

"The most glaring and frankly offensive character, though, is Gerald the sea lion," Elizabeth Picciuto, who watched the film with her disabled son, wrote in The Daily Beast. "He has synophrys (a 'unibrow'), an overbite, and somewhat misaligned eyes. He carries everywhere with him a child’s pail, and clearly reads as having an intellectual disability."

Becky Finding Dory

Picciuto wasn't alone in interpreting Gerald as an inelegant — if not downright offensive — representation of the differently abled.

Lindsay Macdonald at Screener TV wrote the other sea lions were "depicted as almost bullies as they pretty shamefully trick and mock Gerald for his disability," and rounded up some responses on Twitter about how Gerald's character came across.

Alice Wong, the founder of the Disability Visibility Project, described Gerald, Dory, Becky (a bird in the movie), and Bailey (a beluga whale) as all being disabled characters. However, Wong said the movie offers a nuanced and moral treatment of life with a disabilities.

"I relate to Gerald intensely, his wanting to be accepted and being taken advantage of by faux friends/allies," Wong wrote. "I was angry for Gerald but was delighted to see him in a scene after the credits where he manages to nestle himself on the rock behind Rudder and Fluke and gives a bit of a snicker. He does have agency and is tenacious in getting his place in the sun."

Andrew Stanton, the co-director of "Finding Dory," told INSIDER that portraying Gerald as autistic wasn't his intention at all.

"We just wanted him to be the nerd," Stanton said. "Because all of us were nerds."

Finding dory gerald bucket

Gerald, as a character who's bullied — and eventually victorious — is the one Stanton identifies with most in the movie.

"He sort of gets ranked unfairly for not getting to be on the rock, and all the sort of playground rules that all of us nerds had to deal with growing up," Stanton said. "So it’s a bit of a cathartic autobiography for all of us animation nerds that we allowed Gerald to finally win the rock."

In the early days of drafting "Finding Dory," Stanton said some people brought up Gerald's potential to be interpreted as a stand-in for someone with a disability. Stanton and his animators redesigned him to look a little different.

"Honestly, somebody did bring that up when we were in the early days, when we were designing Gerald," Stanton said. "He used to have like a stupid hat that was a bucket. And I said, ‘Oh, you’re making him look like he’s dumb and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Like he’s not intelligent.’ And then we were like, ‘Oh, we never meant that.’ So we got rid of it. So that subject did come up."

The creators of "Finding Dory" tried hard not to make it look like Gerald's character was autistic.

"You can’t make anything foolproof from people's interpretation," Stanton said. "So all we can do is trust that we were very respectful, especially when it came up with Pixar, because people have kids. And definitely parents with autistic kids are working on our films."

"Finding Dory" is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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5 Easter eggs you probably missed that are hidden in 'Finding Dory'

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It's no secret Pixar loves hiding Easter eggs in its movies

"Finding Dory" co-director Andrew Stanton told INSIDER animators sometimes the hidden messages and movie references in their movies because they get bored

For the release of the sequel on Blu-ray and DVD, Disney and Pixar sent over a few Easter eggs you may have missed during your first watch. From a cleverly hidden Captain America shield to an "Inside Out" character, keep reading to see what references you missed.

The license plate on the truck near the end of the movie reads A113, a popular Easter egg that can be found in most Pixar movies.

A113 is a nod to the CalArts first-year graphic design and character animation classroom where many artists and animators at Pixar studied. You can read more about it here.

 



Inside the truck, the horn is made in the shape of Captain America's shield.



Together, Rudder and Fluke also have A113 on their Marine Life Institute tags.



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Actor Michael Shannon: Trump was elected by a 'country of moronic a--holes'

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Actor Michael Shannon held nothing back about the 2016 presidential election and President-elect Donald Trump while promoting his new film "Nocturnal Animals" in a new interview with RogerEbert.com

When asked if he could make sense of how exactly Trump was elected, Shannon had a vitriolic response about Trump's supporters.

"Yeah, I’ll tell you how to make sense of it: This country’s filled with ignorant jacka--es," he said. "The big red dildo running through the middle of our country needs to be annexed to be its own country of moronic a--holes. You can call it the United States of Moronic F---ing Assholes."

Shannon ("Man of Steel,""Take Shelter") elaborated on how he thinks the eight years of Obama's presidency now feel "like a lie" because racism and sexism have been "festering underneath the whole time" in disenchanted Trump voters.

"A lot of these people, they don’t know why the f--- they’re alive," he said. "They’re doing drugs, f---ing killing themselves. Because they’re like, 'Why the f--- am I alive? I can’t get a job, I don’t know anything about anything, I have no curiosity for life or the world.' So this Trump thing is like getting a box of firecrackers, or something. It’s like, 'Well, this will be fun for a little while, this’ll kill some time.' Because, y’know, the jacka-- will be amusing on television, stay stupid sh--." 

Shannon went on to call Trump's presidency "the worst thing that's ever happened." 

"It’s the worst," he said. "This guy is going to destroy civilization as we know it, and the earth, and all because of these people who don’t have any idea why they’re alive."

SEE ALSO: Actor Michael Shannon says 'I could very easily just not do this anymore and not miss it'

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'Batman v Superman' star Michael Shannon says he fell asleep during the movie

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Michael Shannon is a national treasure. I don’t know if he’ll get an Oscar nomination for his supporting turn in Nocturnal Animals (I have trouble believing that Academy members will make it past the opening credits), but he deserves it. He’s also been fairly ubiquitous in 2016 with roles in Complete Unknown, Frank & Lola, Midnight Special, Wolves, Poor Boy, Elvis & Nixon, Loving, and Salt and Fire. He also had a minor cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Zod’s corpse.

When it comes to the DC movies, Shannon tells Fandango that he didn’t sign on because he was looking for a franchise (and as you can see from his assembly of 2016 films, he prefers more independent fare). He did Man of Steel because it was topical:

man of steel“When I did Man of Steel I thought the story was interesting; I thought it was relevant. It was about a civilization that destroys the planet they live on and goes looking for another one. Ring any bells? That’s why I did it. I didn’t do it because I felt I needed a big comic book franchise – I honestly thought it was a beautiful story.”

However, he didn’t feel quite as fondly about Batman v Superman

Shannon: You’re gonna get me in trouble, man! People ask me about this all the time. Okay, I’ll tell you the god’s honest truth. Zack [Snyder] is gonna kill me for this – he’s gonna kill me. I watched it once and I fell asleep.

Fandango: You fell asleep?!

Shannon: I know, I know… I was on an international flight and I was tired.

Fandango: So we’ll blame the international flight for that. Also, c’mon – you can’t watch a movie like Batman v Superman on an airplane on that tiny screen.

Shannon: No, you’re right. I shouldn’t have been watching it on a plane. But I never go to the movies anymore! I don’t have time to see anything. I used to go to the movies all the time when I was 20 years old and wasn’t working 10 days a week.

I hope Shannon was at least awake for the part where Batman and Superman bond because their mothers happen to share the same first name.

SEE ALSO: Actor Michael Shannon: Trump was elected by a 'country of moronic a--holes'

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Warren Beatty has been trying to make a Howard Hughes movie for 40 years —and he still couldn’t get it right

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Rules don't apply warren beatty howard hughes

The INSIDER Summary:

• Legendary Hollywood figure Warren Beatty has been trying to make a Howard Hughes movie for decades. 
• "Rules Don't Apply" is finally in theaters Nov. 23.
• It feels like a movie from a different era. And it's overcooked.


 

For 40 years, Warren Beatty has been trying to make a movie about the billionaire eccentric business mogul and artist Howard Hughes. It finally hits theaters Nov. 23.

"Rules Don't Apply" is Beatty's first movie since 1998's "Bulworth," the political satire that best predicted of Donald Trump's rise to power. It stars Beatty himself — now 79, the glory of "Reds,""Bonnie and Clyde," and "Bugsy" behind him — as Hughes. Lilly Collins stars as Marla Mabrey, a devout Baptist actress from Virginia who comes to Hollywood to become one of Hughes's many starlets. Alden Ehrenreich, soon to be known as Han Solo in a "Star Wars" spin-off, stars as Frank Forbes, one of Hughes's many assistants.

Ininterviews, Beatty has talked about his painstaking, patient approach to writing and directing "Rules Don't Apply." He tinkered with the screenplay for decades and delayed the movie for years as he perfected it in the editing room, occasionally re-shooting a scene he wasn't satisfied with.

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As a finished film, "Rules Don't Apply" appropriately feels like a work from a different era. It's an old-fashioned movie with old-fashioned concerns. Beatty puts a couple of religious people in the setting of Hollywood's "loose" sexual morality, and lets the conflict play out. Mabrey and Forbes strike up a young romance, putting Forbes in conflict with his fiancée and Mabrey in conflict with her piety.

It has long takes and long scenes. No actor's expression goes wasted. Every character has their say before the scene ends and the movie moves on. It's more a charming movie from 1950s or '60s than a movie of 2016.

"Rules Don't Apply" is also, decidedly, a minor work. Beatty is ambitious — he attempts to plumb Hughes's psychological depths like few movies have done before, and the film takes place over the course of a decade — but still, it is small. The movie doesn't track the growth of Hughes's empire, like Martin Scorsese's biopic "The Aviator," or ever focus on more than just a few characters. Its closest cousin in Beatty's oeuvre is his gangster film, "Bugsy," in its portrait of an eccentric, ambitious, megalomaniacal rich man exhibiting power in Los Angeles. But while the main character in "Bugsy" tried to tackle the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert in an attempt to make a casino, Hughes in "Rules Don't Apply" is decidedly less ambitious. He isn't building anything. He's past the peak of his business acumen, at a point where he's just trying to maintain control of his company.

Lilly collins rules don't apply

Not that being a minor work is necessarily a bad thing. "Rules Don't Apply" resembles "Café Society," Woody Allen's film from earlier this year starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Steve Carrell. It's also a story about love and power in Hollywood (though this one is in the 1930s). The difference is that Allen's movie took a year to make while Beatty's is his first in 18. Allen's is kind of better.

There are two types of scenes in "Rules Don't Apply": the Hughes scenes, and the romance scenes. The former show off the billionaire being eccentric, trying the patience of everyone around him. Sometimes he goes silent and unresponsive, like a sulking child, and sometimes he has outlandish demands for his underlings. The romance scenes, between Mabrey and Forbes, are on a totally different register than the Hughes scenes. They sometimes feel like they're from two different movies. And when either of them are in a room with Hughes, Beatty's performance dominates them both. He becomes the center of attention, not them. It's as if the movie is struggling between being a romance, and being a Howard Hughes biopic. It tries to be both, but the two elements don't work well together.

And that's strange. For a movie that took decades to make, "Rules Don't Apply"— for all its charms — doesn't feel like the work of a perfectionist. The chemistry between Ehrenreich and Collins isn't totally convincing, especially by the end of the film. It feels overcooked.

"Rules Don't Apply" will be released November 23. 

You can watch the trailer below:

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THEN & NOW: The cast of 'Harry Potter' 15 years later

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Wednesday marks the 15th anniversary of the release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first movie in the franchise about a young wizard destined to be a hero, adapted from J.K. Rowling's novels.

When the first "Harry Potter" movie was released in 2001, Daniel Radcliffe was an 11-year-old with only a few acting credits to his name.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since then. Radcliffe went on to gain international fame, playing roles on the stage and screen.

But he's not the only one. Many of his Hogwarts classmates and professors have starred in some of our favorite films and television shows, from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead."

In honor of the anniversary, here's a look at what the many stars of the "Harry Potter" franchise are up to now:

SEE ALSO: 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling rails against bullies and bigots after Donald Trump's win

DON'T MISS: 'Harry Potter' star Daniel Radcliffe reveals the advice Donald Trump gave him when he was 11 years old

THEN: Daniel Radcliffe starred as bespectacled and famed wizard Harry Potter.



NOW: Radcliffe's career has spanned stage and screen. He had roles in "Kill Your Darlings" and "Trainwreck" and starred in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway in 2011. This year, Radcliffe was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also in 2016, he starred in "Swiss Army Man,""Now You See Me 2," and "Imperium." Next, he'll appear in the Greg McLean-directed drama "Jungle," in 2017.



THEN: Rupert Grint played Harry's redheaded best friend, Ron Weasley.



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