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'The Eyes of My Mother' is the year's most gruesome horror movie — and you need to see it

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rs the eyes of my motherPicture Grant Wood's famous painting American Gothic, the one with the stolid farmer and his missus. Now imagine that, were you able to slowly pan down and magically see what was going on just below the frame of this landmark 20th-century artwork, you were to spy a lithe girl sitting at their feet. She's slowly sawing away at the older couple's legs, cutting through sinew and bone, blood pooling around her on the ground. (You don't hear the elderly gent and his anxious-looking spouse screaming, as the young woman has already removed their tongues.) She has to do this, you understand, because if she hacks off their limbs, they can't run away from her. Now, she thinks, I'll never, ever have to be alone again.

That's the closest approximation to the feeling you get from watching The Eyes of My Mother, Nicolas Pesce's stunning, sick debut that quickly establishes itself as a high point of modern art-horror nightmare fodder. Its set-up could not be more Rural True Crime 101: A child named Francisca (Olivia Bond) lives in the countryside with her Portuguese mother and stoic Midwestern father. A stranger named Charlie (Will Brill) shows up one day while Dad is out, asking to use the bathroom; both Mom and viewers know something about this guy, who resembles a creepy, giggling Mormon missionary, is way off.

But the scenario plays itself out with a horrifying inevitability, and when Pops comes home to find his daughter sitting quietly in the kitchen and the visitor doing unspeakable things in their bathroom, the tables get turned. Soon, Charlie finds himself chained up in the family barn. "You're going to kill me, aren't you?" he asks Francisca, as she sews up a wound. "Why would I kill you," the child replies. "You're my only friend."

What follows is a portrait of a burgeoning serial killer, rendered in the sort of stark black-and-white visual palette associated with police-file crime pics (though Zach Kuperstein's monochromatic cinematography couldn't be more beautiful, more expressionistic or more dread-inducing) and blessed with a groaning-to-droning score by Ariel Loh that suggests complete psychic breakdown. As the now-grown Francisca (Kika Magalhaes) exemplifies her mom's statement about the way "loneliness can do strange things to the mind," the film keeps toggling between making you sympathize with this poor, warped person and toying with your nervous system as the people who hover into her orbit find themselves reduced to permanent playthings or mysterious wrapped packages in a freezer.

By the time you've dropped your jaw over some gorgeously grotesque images – a corpse being tenderly washed in a milky bath, a long shot of a figure wandering blindly through a field, a silhouette of a witching-hour burial – and nearly lost your lunch over its pitiless brutality, you won't feel that you've watched this thrilling addition to backwoods guignol so much as been infected by it. Which is how good horror should operate; given that the movie comes blessed by Borderline Films, an indie outfit responsible for films like Afterschool (2008) and Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), you might think that this skew towards the imprint's in-house nihilistic chic.

But if anything, Pesce's yowl into the abyss resembles the early Seventies' spate of scary movies (see Hooper, Tobe) set in our nation's rustic outskirts and whose monsters looked like your neighbors when they weren't wearing skin-masks. If The Eyes of My Mother is occasionally stylistic to a fault and ends way too abruptly, it's also the mark of someone who isn't afraid to make something that leaves scars. This is what curdled Americana looks like – a Joel-Peter Witkin portfolio come to life and a vision of jus' folks weaned on isolation, madness, and good old Type O.

SEE ALSO: Why 2016 was one of the greatest years for horror movies ever

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NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front

Psychiatrists studied 400 movies to find the most realistic psychopath

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As frightening as movie psychopaths like Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter appear on the big screen, turns out they may not be as realistic compared to their real-life counterparts. In 2013, Belgian psychiatrists watched over 400 movies to decide which fictional psychopath are based in reality and which ones were pure fiction.

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'Moana' easily wins at the box office for a second straight weekend

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Disney's "Moana" easily won the domestic box office for a second straight weekend with an estimated $28.4 million take, according to Variety.

The movie surpassed the $100 million global landmark on Saturday, cementing it as another box office winner for Disney in 2016. 

With no new wide releases out this weekend, the closest thing to competition was Warner Bros. holdover "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which came in second with $18.5 million.

Hollywood will be relying on these two titles to continue bringing in some kind of respectable coin at the box office for another week before "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opens in theaters on December 16. In the meantime the only big opening before then will be the adult comedy "Office Christmas Party," which isn't expected to have a huge opening.   

SEE ALSO: Here are the top 50 movies of the year, according to Google

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NOW WATCH: Watch the first trailer for Disney's live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' starring Emma Watson

The 10 most popular stars in 2016, according to IMDb

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Margot Robbie

IMDb has released the top 10 stars visited on the site in 2016, and the list is a mix of obvious names and rising stars.

Out of the more than 250 million monthly unique visitors the site says it gets, "Suicide Squad" star Margot Robbie tops the list of people with the most pageviews.

Robbie also starred in "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" and "The Legend of Tarzan" this year.

Check out the most popular stars on IMDb in 2016 below: 

SEE ALSO: The "Westworld" finale had a satisfying end-credits scene you may have missed

10. Leonardo DiCaprio

Though he didn't have a movie out this year, the Oscar winner was still a hot name on the site this year.



9. Haley Bennett

Bennett was a breakout star this year, starring in "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Girl on the Train."



8. Daisy Ridley

Though between "Star Wars" movies, Ridley was still high on the search results.



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The 20 best things you can now download and watch anywhere on Netflix

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Netflix has finally answered the longtime demands for an "offline" mode.

The streaming service now allows users to download and watch a number of streaming titles wherever and whenever they want, without internet access. The list of titles includes both Netflix Originals like "Stranger Things" and a number of classic movies, including "Pulp Fiction."

You can search the titles available for offline viewing from the main menu on your Netflix app by choosing "Available for Download."

Here's a sampling of the best movies and TV shows you can download on Netflix now:

SEE ALSO: The 30 best movie endings of all time, ranked

"Stranger Things"



"Black Mirror"



"No Country for Old Men"



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George Lucas finally saw 'Rogue One,' and he really liked it

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The father of the "Star Wars" franchise, George Lucas, has seen "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," and he likes it.

During a press conference on Sunday with the director and cast of the first standalone "Star Wars" movie, "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards said that he has talked with Lucas after the "Star Wars" creator saw the new film.

“Two days ago we got to show George the movie, and we all had a phone call and I got to speak with him yesterday," Edwards said. "I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I can honestly say that I can die happy now. He really liked the movie. It meant a lot. To be honest, and no offense to anyone here, it was the most important review to me. You know, you guys are important too, but he’s kind of God... I will take that conversation to my grave. His opinion means the world to me.”

Lucas gave the same reaction last year leading up to the huge release of "The Force Awakens." A few weeks later, however, he told Charlie Rose that he was disappointed that Disney wanted to "make something for the fans" with more of a remakequel, rather than an original story.

Perhaps Lucas was more fond of "Rogue One" because of its supposed one-and-done quality. As Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has said, there won't be a sequel to the movie and it's doubtful you'll see the characters show up in other movies.

SEE ALSO: 29 movies you have to see this holiday season

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NOW WATCH: Marvel just dropped the first full trailer for 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' — and it looks amazing

20 photos that give us our first look at the next 'Transformers' movie

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transformers last knight

Before the first official trailer drops for "Transformers: The Last Night" Monday, fans got their first look at next year's film in the form of a one-minute production video.

The official "Transformers" Facebook page posted the video, which celebrates the wrapping up of the movie's production. The fifth entry in Michael Bay's franchise about alien robots blasts its way into theaters on June 23, 2017.

Here's what we noticed in the production video.

Here's Mark Whalberg as Cade Yeagar the "inventor" at the heart of the "Transformers" movies ever since Shia LaBeouf left the franchise.



Michael Bay returned to direct "Transformers: The Last Knight."



Anthony Hopkins, fresh off his role in "Westworld," is joining the franchise for the first time.



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Katie Holmes reveals the message to her daughter Suri in her new movie

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Katie Holmes has gone through many phases in her career. We first fell for her as the pretty girl next door on the late-'90s series "Dawson's Creek." Then she suddenly became one of the most recognized faces in the world thanks to her marriage to Tom Cruise in the early 2000s (they divorced in 2012). Now she's forging a new chapter as a filmmaker.

After two short films — a 2014 AOL original on women who inspire her and the 2015 ESPN "30 for 30""Eternal Princess" on Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci — Holmes, 37, has made an impressive feature debut with "All We Had" (opening in theaters and on VOD on Friday). Based on the Annie Weatherwax novel of the same name, it stars Holmes as Rita, a down-and-out mom who leaves the man she's with to start a new life with her daughter, Ruthie (Stefania LaVie Owen). 

Business Insider talked to Holmes about the challenges of making her first feature film, if she has any regrets about walking away from the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman franchise, and why she dedicated "All We Had" to her daughter, Suri.

Jason Guerrasio: When did you catch the directing bug?

Katie Holmes: I think it was around the time of doing those shorts. [Producer] Christine Vachon, I had a meeting with her, and she mentioned the short, this AOL short, and asked if I wanted to do one. Once I had an idea of what to do and how to do it and actually did it, I was like, "Oh, I can do that. That wasn't so bad." And then the next step was the "30 for 30," and again that boosted my confidence enough to decide I'm going to do a feature narrative. And I was supported by my agency, and [producer] Jane Rosenthal has been an exceptional friend, and she produced "All We Had," she encouraged me to do the "30 for 30." So it was having people around me saying, "Go for it." So here I am.

Guerrasio: When reading "All We Had," did you get caught up with the story and characters or were you trying to figure out if this was a story you could direct?

Holmes: Well, when I read scripts and when I read books, it's more of an emotional response and I was really drawn to these characters. The book was written from Ruthie's perspective and I felt that there was a beautiful story to be told and one that was valuable and also one that was a size that I could do as my first.

Guerrasio: It was a story where you didn't feel you'd be overwhelmed.

Holmes: Right. It didn't have a lot of locations. And I felt I really wanted to play Rita because she's a person that is often judged and overlooked and I felt she was really strong and resilient and kind of funny and she really loves that little girl and I felt it was nice to celebrate that.

All We Had Gravitas final

Guerrasio: Did you have to star in the movie to get the financing to make it, or would it have been possible if you were just behind the camera?

Holmes: I don't know because I always wanted to play her. I never even thought about it.

Guerrasio: So was it hard directing and acting? Did you need someone you could turn to so when you were through acting in a scene you could figure out how it looked?

Holmes: It was a process. You go in thinking you have to do this all by yourself, and what I learned was no, when you hire great people, they do so much for you. I started working on how I would direct this a year before we started shooting and I was prepping, acting, and directing sort of at the same time. I knew that I didn't want to hold people up on set. I didn't want it to be all about how did I do, I had to be giving to the other actors. So I kind of involved everyone in my acting and directing prep before the traditional four-week prep. I had my cinematographer, Brett Pawlak, and my production designer, Michael Fitzgerald, and my wardrobe designer, Brenda Abbandandolo, they were my key teammates. We were constantly watching movies, sending photos that inspired us, shooting certain test footage, so by the time I got to location scouting, we were all very clear about the story we were trying to tell, so the decisions came from a very grounded place and a place of clam and not panic.   

All We Had 2 Gravitas.JPG

Guerrasio: So you wanted to be a well-oiled machine by the time you got to production.

Holmes: Right. And we didn't have the time to watch playback all the time so I depended on my team, and Jane was there and was whispering in my ear, "Do that again," or "You got it." Then it was really fun because you trust everybody. There was even a point where I grabbed the camera and shot a scene.

Guerrasio: You've worked with so many directors. Was there one you emulated the most?

Holmes: Working on "Pieces of April" with Peter Hedges at a young age was really very powerful. It was a different kind of work. We shot that in 10 days and Peter was right there with us, right next to the camera. It was very grounded and I really liked working that way. I liked the way he directed us. And also Simon McBurney on "All My Sons" on Broadway — we had an eight-week rehearsal period and I really enjoyed the way that he prepared us to go onstage. It was different than anything I've done and it was a different way of being directed, so I tried to take my different experiences of these directors and give those to my actors.

Guerrasio: When you are on the set just to act — for example you recently did Steven Soderbergh's "Logan Lucky"— do you see it with different eyes having now directed? Would you watch Soderbergh to see how he did things?

Holmes: Steven is so generous and when I sat down to meet him for "Logan Lucky" he answered so many questions about directing, so when I was on set I tried not to bug him too much. [Laughs] "Why did you put the camera there?" But he was very open to my questions and definitely being on his set was really thrilling because he's such a master. I was paying attention to where he had the camera and his shots. I was blown away.

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Guerrasio: You starred in "Batman Begins," which kind of predated the onslaught of comic-book movies we have now. Does that kind of movie interest you to direct? Would you want to direct something of that size one day?

Holmes: I think that I'm always open to any kind of project. It would be something that I would really have to work very hard to understand how to make something of that size. I remember when we were doing "Batman Begins" and to watch Chris Nolan go from "Memento" to "Batman" and take that leap from such a smaller size to a big movie, that's inspiring. But those movies are their own type of art and you have to really understand it and really know that world and I would have to take a long time to figure that out. [Laughs] Because my brain doesn't naturally go there.

Guerrasio: Any regrets not continuing with the Rachel Dawes character in the Batman franchise?

Holmes: You know, I really enjoyed working on the first one and I wish I could have worked with Chris Nolan again and I hope to work with him again. It was a decision that I made at that time and it was right for me at that moment, so I don't have any regrets. I think that Maggie did a wonderful job. But I really hope that I get to work with Chris some day.

Guerrasio: Any role that you've gone after and didn't get that still sticks with you?

Holmes: Burns! That really burns you?

Guerrasio: Yeah.

Holmes: [Laugh] Every role that you don't get burns you for a while. I'm not going to lie. Because you want it. But over time you sort of realize, okay, whatever. You get over it. There's not one that sticks out, no. And I think now I'm just excited to continue directing and find stories that inspire me and bring those to the screen.

Guerrasio: You're going to direct an episode of "The Kennedys: After Camelot," in which you also play Jacqueline Kennedy. What about beyond that?

Holmes: I optioned a book called "Rare Objects" by Kathleen Tessaro and I'm adapting it right now. It takes place in the 1930s and it's about two women and that's what I'm working on right now to direct.

Guerrasio: Are you doing the screenwriting adaptation yourself?

Holmes: For now I am.

Guerrasio: At the end of "All We Had," you give a special thanks to your daughter with the words, "Dreams come true." What did you mean by that?

Holmes: She's my daughter, she's very, very special to me, and this project took a lot of time and because it's my first feature I wanted her to know that she's so special to me. I thought that as she gets old that will mean more to her, that she's always the most important, and I wanted to give her a special thanks because she means everything to me.

SEE ALSO: How one of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits was made

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There's a new 'Transformers' movie out next summer — here's the first trailer

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The first trailer for "Transformers: The Last Knight," the fifth entry in Michael Bay's alien robot franchise, is finally here.

We last left Optimus Prime (a Transformer, voiced by Peter Cullen), Cade Yeager (Mark Whalberg), and the rest of the gang in "Transformers: Age of Extinction," where dinosaur Transformers (Dinobots) were introduced to the series. At the end of the movie, Optimus flew into space to battle the "Creators," who seem to be bigger robot aliens that caused havoc on Earth. Optimus is back, but for now it doesn't look like he's with the good guys.

optimus prime transformers the last knight

This time around, a few new actors will join the squad including Tyrese and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" will be in theaters on June 23, 2017.

Watch the trailer below:

 

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Watch the mysterious trailer for the new Transformers movie that could change everything you know about Optimus Prime

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The fifth Transformers movie is coming this summer. Optimus Prime, Mark Wahlberg, and plenty of Michael Bay explosions are back in this new trailer, but Optimus Prime doesn't seem to be the same iconic hero.

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Here's everything we know about Pixar's next movie 'Coco' — its only original film until 2020

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coco pixar date

The INSIDER Summary:

• "Coco" is Pixar's only original film for the next three years.
• It's about a young Mexican boy who wants to be a musician and enters the underworld.
• The movie has an all-Latino voice cast.


 

Pixar has been teasing "Coco" for about six years now. But until today, the details have been kept tightly under wraps. All we knew was that it was going to be an original film, and that it's about the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead."

Disney just released new details about the film, which is due to be released on November 22, 2017. Here's what we can expect.

It's directed by Lee Unkrich, whose first solo film was "Toy Story 3."

toy story 3 pixar

Unkrich has been working on Pixar movies ever since "Toy Story." He received co-directing credits on "Toy Story 2," Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo." The third entry in Pixar's signature series was a risk — no one was quite sure how a "Toy Story" sequel would turn out ten years after the previous one, and with a first-time solo director — but he proved his chops. Since then, he's been working on "Coco."

Out of Pixar's next four movies, "Coco" is the only one that isn't a sequel.

The studio's next film is "Cars 3" on June 16, 2017, then "Coco" on November 22, 2017. Following that, we're getting "Incredibles 2" and "Toy Story 4." In 2020, Pixar plans to finally release two more original films, but they're still untitled.

Coco Pixar miguel

The movie is about a young boy who wants to be a musician, and enters the underworld.

It focuses on Miguel Rivera (voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who lives in a Mexican village and wants to be a musician.

The problem is, his family has banned music forever, because they think they're cursed by it. According to their family history, Miguel's great-grandfather abandoned his wife to become a musician. The tragedy led her to "declare music dead to the family forever,"according to the plot summary provided to Entertainment Weekly.

Miguel ends up entering the land of the dead in search of a famous singer who inspired him (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), and enlists the help of a trickster skeletal spirit named Hector (voiced by Gael García Bernal). 

"Coco" will have an all-Latino voice cast.

Early on, Disney tried to trademark the phrase "Día de los Muertos," which led to swift and harsh backlash from the Latino community. The filmmakers are being more careful.

"It was important to us from day one that we had an all-Latino cast,"Unkrich told Entertainment Weekly. "It focused us, and we ended up with a fantastic mix of people — some from Mexico and some from Los Angeles."

Gael Garcia Bernal

Unkrich also did his research to make sure the film would represent its character accurately.

"I’ll be the first to say that going on a few research trips doesn’t make us experts in anything,"he told Vanity Fair. "But it would have been wrong for us not to go down. I knew from Day One, when John Lasseter gave the okay, that we had an enormous responsibility to tell this story right and to not lapse into cliché or stereotype."

The talent pool is deep. Bernal has broken out as a major actors in recent years, with critically acclaimed starring turns in "Mozart in the Jungle,""No," and "Neruda." Benjamin Bratton is a mainstay in American television. Anthony Gonzalez, however was hired after impressing Unkrich while recording temporary vocal tracks during the movie's production.

"We actually had another kid doing scratch for Miguel who’s now 17 or 18," Unkrich told Entertainment Weekly. "Which should tell you how long we’ve been working on the movie, but his voice changed long ago, and it was actually in trying to find a new voice for the scratch that we found Anthony."

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Why Katie Holmes says she walked away from the Batman movies and has no regrets

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In 2005, Katie Holmes was cast as the romantic lead opposite Christian Bale in Warner Bros.’ reboot of the Batman franchise, “Batman Begins.”

It was Holmes' biggest role since the end of the hit TV show that made her a star, “Dawson’s Creek.”

But after the global success of “Batman Begins” (it made over $370 million worldwide), Holmes did not return for the 2008 sequel, “The Dark Knight.” Her character, Rachel Dawes, was taken over by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

That led to speculation that director Christopher Nolan recast the role. Audiences and critics alike generally felt Holmes' performance was forgettable.

But Nolan revealed in the lead-up to “The Dark Knight” that he had wanted Holmes to return.

“Katie wasn’t available for the role, which I wasn’t very happy about, but these things happen, and I was very, very fortunate that Maggie [Gyllenhaal] was able to take it over,” he said

Gyllenhaal even personally reached out to Holmes to get her approval to take on the role.

Holmes told Business Insider in a recent interview promoting her new feature directing debut, "All We Had," that she didn't have regrets about walking away from the Batman franchise.

“You know, I really enjoyed working on the first one and I wish I could have worked with Chris Nolan again,” Holmes said. “It was a decision that I made at that time and it was right for me at that moment, so I don't have any regrets. I think that Maggie did a wonderful job. But I really hope that I get to work with Chris some day.”

Holmes didn't get anymore specific about why exactly she left the franchise at that time.

Along with starring in “All We Had,” Holmes will next be seen in the miniseries “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” playing Jacqueline Kennedy, and Steven Soderbergher’s “Logan Lucky.” Both come out next year.

SEE ALSO: Katie Holmes reveals the message to her daughter Suri in her new movie

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15 things we learned about the making of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

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This post includes spoilers for 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

A lot of hard, No-Maj work went into making the magical world of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." J.K. Rowling's universe was transported to 1926 New York, and the filmmakers had to make period-accurate sets and make sure even the smallest of details was consistent with the rest of the "Harry Potter" franchise.

HarperCollins published three books that go behind the scenes of how the movie was made, and they're chock full of interesting details. They include "The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by Mark Salisbury, "Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them " by Ian Nathan, and "The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by Dermot Power, who was one of the movie's conceptual artists.

We read all of them. Here are some of the most interesting things we learned.

Jacob originally had a fiancée who dumped him, and Queenie was his rebound.

In an earlier draft of "Fantastic Beasts," Jacob had a fiancée, Mildred (played by Sinead Matthews, who "leaves him when he unsuccessfully returns from his bank meeting without a loan," according to "The Case of Beasts." She handed his engagement ring back to him and walked out.

In that light, the relationship between Jacob and Queenie would be totally different. Jacob would still be a bit of a sad sack, but Queenie would become more of a rebound for him.

Director David Yates decided to cut the scene because the audiece "didn't need a reason to fall in love with Jacob." He's right!



A random electrician on set provided the face of the barkeep elf in the Blind Pig.

At some point during the movie, the characters go to the Blind Pig, a speakeasy for wizards, to get some information about the escaped magical animals. There's a bartender who serves Jacob some Giggle Water.

Because the bartender is an elf, its face had to be animated. To cast the face, animation supervisor just picked a random electrician he saw on set.

"What a great face," animation supervisor Pablo Grillo said when he saw the electrician, according to "Inside the Magic.""Paul looks quite good, doesn't he?" he asked director David Yates. Yates told him to ask if he could scan the electrician's face.

"So they ended up scanning him in and 'Paul the spark' became their bartending elf," Ian Nathan wrote in "Inside the Magic.

Visual effect supervisor Christian Manz joked that "he's going to dine out on that for a few years." Unfortunately, we only get to see half of Paul's face. Elves are very short.



The original interior of Newt Scamander's briefcase was way too ambitious.

One of the early concepts for the interior of Newt Scamander's briefcase was for it to be a mysterious, all-expansive "Eden-like environment," according to "Inside the Magic."

"With hints of the wardrobe from Narnia, the steps would lead Newt into a perfectly realized forest, and across a certain boundary you could see rolling waves and surf, and the horizon going on forever. It was an entire world."

J.K. Rowling pointed out, though, that "it would take a wizard more powerful than even Voldemort to create such a place." So the animation designers scaled it back, creating fewer habitats, making Newt's magic seem more rickety.

"What we came up with was this slightly dysfunctional magic," conceptual artist Dermot Power said. "Newt loves animals so much he's gone through great trouble of creating these worlds, but he doesn't see his career as that. He's just pleased the animals are happy."



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Chris Pratt filmed in a trippy box for his new movie

The 13 best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix

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Christmas

The INSIDER Summary:

•Kids will love 'Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas' and 'BoJack Horseman Christmas Special' is one for the adults.

• 'Christmas with the Kranks' will always be the other Tim Allen Christmas classic. 


 

Back when I was growing up in the '90s, the Christmas season was filled with movies and specials to watch that would put me in the holiday mood. The trouble was, in order to watch them I would have to either wait for something to air on network TV or dust off an old VHS tape that had a spotty recording of what I wanted to watch. Technology has come a long way since then, and these days I can simply stream the best Christmas movies on Netflix to my heart's content.

Now, the reason I say the "best" Christmas movies on Netflix is because, if I'm being honest, there's a lot of junk on there. When it comes to Netflix's holiday selection, high standards of quality don't always seem to be present, and you're very likely to come across a number of films of questionable production value which you've never heard of. But once you cut through the clutter, there are some real gems to be found. And even though you're probably not going to find every single one of your favorite holiday classics on the streaming site, there are still more than enough present to fill you with good cheer. So take a look at the following list of the 13 best Christmas movies on Netflix.

1. White Christmas

An all-time classic and, without question, the crown jewel in Netflix's holiday crown.



2. A Very Murray Christmas

This Netflix original from last last year was marketed as a subversive take on old-timey Christmas variety specials, but it actually plays it pretty straight.



3. Christmas With The Kranks

Tim Allen's second-best Christmas movie, after The Santa Clause.



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The 25 worst movies of 2016, according to critics

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As Hollywood is in the midst of another award season — when studios and publicists are hard at work touting the best movies of the year — deep in the bowels of the review aggregator Metacritic, you can find something different: the movies with the dishonor of getting the worst reviews of the year.

From blockbuster duds like "Independence Day: Resurgence" and "Warcraft" to indie misses like "Man Down" and "The Sea of Trees," plus the epically bad A-list romantic comedy "Mother's Day," there are some movies this year that the critics really, really didn’t like.

Here are the 25 worst-reviewed movies of 2016, as rated by critics' scores on Metacritic:

Note: Movies here are limited to those that had a theatrical release.

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25. "Alice Through the Looking Glass"

Metacritic score: 34/100

What a critic said:"I removed my eyeballs from my head as soon as I got back from 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' and cleaned them in a sink."— RogerEbert.com



24. "Ice Age: Collision Course"

Metacritic score: 34/100

What a critic said:"It's time to put this franchise on ice for good."— Time Out London



23. "Zoolander 2"

Metacritic score34/100

What a critic said:"The first film scored a few palpable hits, but the new one barely makes the effort."— The New Yorker



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The first teaser of the new 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' is here

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A new Spider-Man movie is coming next summer and we have our first tease at the movie featuring Spidey himself and a familiar old face from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

The teaser trailer shows off a glimpse of Tony Stark's friend Happy Hogan, played by director Jon Favreau ("The Jungle Book"), with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he catches him wearing a pretty dismal Spidey suit. It looks like his new best friend Tony Stark sent him over some new threads and they're looking pretty sharp as we see Holland fly through the sky in a sleek new suit.

The first official trailer for "Spider-Man: Homecoming" starring Holland will debut Thursday night during "Jimmy Kimmel Live." We were first introduced to Holland in this summer's "Captain America: Civil War" after Disney and Sony Pictures partnered up to bring Spidey to the big screen with the Avengers team.

Check out the teaser below:

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There's a provocative new trailer for the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sequel

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Universal released a new trailer for its "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequel out next summer and it's a lot hotter than the first one. 

Christian and Ana are back together after cutting ties at the end of the first film. While their relationship is heating up, Anastasia Steele is met with a few people from her beau's past including the mysterious Mrs. Robinson (Kim Basinger) and another woman who appears to be stalking Ana throughout the trailer. 

Here's the official synopsis for the second movie in the "Fifty Shades" franchise:

When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

Based on the book series by E.L. James, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return for the sequel along with Rita Ora. Hugh Dancy, Bella Heathcote, and Eric Johnson join the sequel.

"Fifty Shades Darker" is in theaters February 14, 2017.

Check out the trailer below:

 

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Disney just turned its famous Epcot globe into a real-life Death Star — and it even shot a laser

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To promote the upcoming film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Disney turned Epcot's "Spaceship Earth" ride into an incredibly awesome Death Star. Here's what it looked like. 

Video courtesy of Disney.

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The incredible true story behind the year's most touching Oscar contender, 'Lion'

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Dev Patel lion

This is the time of year when we're bombarded with very serious (and often depressing) movies vying for Academy Awards nominations. 2016 is no different, with Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” Denzel Washington’s “Fences,” and the indie “Manchester by the Sea” taking up a lot of the conversation.

But thankfully, there are still some new movies to leave you happy, and one is the remarkably touching “Lion.”

It follows the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley, who at five years old while begging at the Khandwa train station in Burhanpur, India, falls asleep in a train car and finds himself in Calcutta, 930 miles from his hometown. After surviving as a street kid and eventually being adopted by a couple in Australia, 25 years later, Brierley finds his birth mother with the help of Google Earth.

Australian director Garth Davis caught wind of Brierley’s story in a 2013 article producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman handed him while he was directing episodes of “Top of the Lake” for them.

“As soon as I read the article I fell in love with the story,” Davis recently told Business Insider.

Interested in making a movie about Brierley, the producers rushed out to get the life rights (Brierley’s book about his experience, “A Long Way Home,” would not be published for another year), while Davis flew to India to meet Brierley and his family.

“We found out that '60 Minutes' was going to India to take Saroo’s adopted mother to meet his birth mother. I tagged along on that trip,” Davis said.

Garth Davis Alexander Koerner GettyIt was the first of numerous research trips Davis took to India, where he retraced Brierley’s journey back when he was five years old.

Later, writer Luke Davies was hired for the script and also took a trip to India. Then the two met up at Davies’ house in Los Angeles and in front of a very large whiteboard began to develop the story for “Lion.” Around that same time, actor Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”) began to come around the house, too.

“He was there fighting for the role from the very beginning,” Davis said.

But Davis was already having doubts about how to cast the Saroo role.

“There wasn’t an actor that I could think of that was the person in my mind,” he said. “That was a problem.”

So, even though Patel was one of the first actors to show interest, he was nowhere near the top contender.

“I had to catch up to him a little bit,” Davis said with a laugh of Patel. “His passion was really important. You just want to make sure that every person on your set wants to be there and is really passionate about the role. Because you just can't get the work to that level otherwise. So it went a long way that he was fighting for the role and his passion was there and his commitment was there.”

The path of “Lion” from idea to production went at breakneck speed. Davies spent six months on the script, completing in May of 2014. Davis, along with producers Canning and Sherman, hopped on a flight to the Cannes Film Festival weeks later where the Weinstein Company bought the worldwide rights for $12 million. Shooting began in August.

“It was a project that never stopped,” Davis said.

Though Davis was conflicted about casting the adult Brierley, he also had to find the five-year-old Brierley.

A four-month talent search led to Davis casting Sunny Pawar, whom he and his team found in Mumbai. Though Pawar didn’t have any acting experience, Davis said, “It became pretty clear that he was our boy.”

But Davis said getting Pawar to be the emotional center of the movie was the biggest challenge of making “Lion.”

lion_TWC“Some of the scenes are quite complicated,” Davis said. “He’s doing maybe four things in a scene, three of those things may be difficult things like running to a door, asking to get off a train, looking scared — all of that will be in one shot. So it's a lot of things for a five-year-old child to pull together in a scene. It's incredibly difficult to get a child at that age to do that. I don't know how to explain it. It's very sobering.”

Much of the film is through the eyes of young Brierley, and Pawar's performance keeps you on the edge while also being uplifting. Brierley's dedication to finding his home is unwavering.

The movie is also strengthened by supporting roles from Nicole Kidman playing Brierley’s adoptive mother and Rooney Mara as adult Brierley’s girlfriend.

Davis — who's working on his next movie, "Mary Magdalene," starring Mara in the lead role — is happy for the awards attention surrounding "Lion," but he said that was never the motivation.

“We made this because we were so moved by the story,” he said. “This is just a movie of passion.” 

That, and they wanted to satisfy the request of Brierley and his family, who have been fully supportive of the movie from the beginning.

“They wanted to make sure the story gave people courage to love and open up the question of adoption,” Davis said. “They just wanted their story to be told very honestly.” 

“Lion” is currently playing in select theaters.

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