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Matt Singer

Matt Singer is the managing editor and film critic of the website ScreenCrush.com. For five years, he was the on-air host of IFC News on the Independent Film Channel, hosting coverage of film festivals and red carpets around the world. He’s been a frequent contributor to the television shows CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents At the Movies, and his writing has also appeared in print and online at The Village Voice, The Dissolve, and Indiewire.
Vacation group shot
New Line
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‘Vacation’ Review: This Sad Sequel Truly Is a Road Trip from Hell

Full disclosure: I missed the last 10 minutes of Vacation. Last night’s press screening started 20 minutes late, then began without any sound, which lead to a 10 minute delay to correct the technical difficulties. With an unbreakable engagement elsewhere, I had to sneak out right before the very last scene. So take this review with as many grains of salt as you’d like. If you think those final minutes might recontextualize everything that came before to transform a generally miserable comedy into a beacon of transcendent hilarity, so be it. Having sat through the previous 90 minutes, I’m of the opinion that nothing short of the long-lost missing footage from Orson Welles’ Magnificent Ambersons could have redeemed this dreadful film.

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Jar Jar Binks
Lucasfilm
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Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Jar Jar Binks in ‘The Phantom Menace’

In an interview with VICE, Ahmed Best, best known as the man who appeared in three less-than-enthusiastically received Star Wars prequels as the less-than-beloved Jar Jar Binks, says that while he was the one who ended up winning the role, there was a far more famous superstar who really wanted to play everyone’s ninth-favorite Gungan. And that man was Michael Jackson.

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Universal
Universal
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The ‘Jurassic World’ Sequel Is Coming in 2018, With Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard

Sequels, like evolution, are inevitable. Like genetically-modified dinosaurs, they cannot be stopped. When Jurassic World becomes the third highest-grossing movie of all time (not this year, not this decade; ever) you could bet your dino DNA that Universal was going to make another one. And now it’s official: an as-yet untitled Jurassic World sequel is coming to theater on June 22, 2018.

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Category: Movie News
Disney movies smoking
Walt Disney Pictures
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Disney Bans Smoking in Youth-Rated Movies

If you’re a fan of Disney baddies like cigar-smoking Bill Sykes from Oliver & Company (and really, who isn’t a fan of Bill Sykes from Oliver & Company?), this news is relevant to your tobacco-stained interests: The Walt Disney Company has banned all depictions of smoking from all of its films from all of its child-oriented labels (including Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm) rated G through PG-13. Via a press release:

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Ted 2
Universal
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‘Ted 2’ Review: Hateful Teddy Bears Are People Too, Bro

It’s funny that the poster for Ted 2 features the title character with his back to the camera and his hands suggestively poised near his crotch above the tagline “Ted is coming, again” because the whole movie revolves around the fact that Ted can’t come, not even once. Ted doesn’t have any genitals or a reproductive system, so he can’t have a baby with his wife. His search for a sperm donor eventually spills into the legal system, where a court case will decide a surprisingly complex question: Is Ted a person?

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Inside Out
Pixar
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‘Inside Out’ Review: A New Pixar Masterpiece

It’s been at least five years since the last great Pixar film (or more, depending on your feelings about Toy Story 3). In the interim, they produced a series of sequels — some quite entertaining, but few as transcendently beautiful as the original concepts that turned the studio into the most dependable brand in all of Hollywood. Their latest effort, Inside Out, isn’t just a return to form; it surpasses almost all of their previous classics. It is, from start to finish, one of the best films Pixar has ever made.

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Christopher Lee RIP
Getty Images
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Christopher Lee, ‘Dracula’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ Actor, Dead at 93

After a staggering career that spanned more than sixty years actor, Christopher Lee has died. He was 93 years old. The BBC reports he passed away on Sunday “at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure.” The legendary actor appeared in over 240 movies.

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Category: Celebrity Tags:
jurassic-park-review-pic
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‘Jurassic World’ Review: The Park Is Open and Full of Dumb People

When all you care about is money, bad things happen. That’s the message of Jurassic World, where greedy theme-park executives hoping to spike attendance engineer the “Indominus Rex,” a genetically-modified dinosaur that immediately turns on its creators and runs amok. Designed as a cautionary tale about the dangers of building a meaner, badder monster purely for the sake of profits, Jurassic World works equally well as a cautionary tale about doing the same thing in movies. All of the rationalizations provided by Jurassic World’s employees — “Consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth.” “Somebody’s gotta make sure this company has a future!” — could have been taken directly out of the mouths of the studio executives who approved this gene splice of a reboot and a sequel. Their creation — the Indominus or the movie, there’s basically no difference — is as advertised; huge, mean, and visually striking. But this experiment is not without consequences.

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
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Clint Eastwood to Direct Movie About Heroic Pilot Chelsey ‘Sully’ Sullenberger

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 was struck by a flock of geese during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. The plane’s captain, Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, successfully brought the plane down in the Hudson River, where all 155 passengers and crew members were evacuated and survived. It was an incredible story, one that played out in real time on the news; I vividly remember being at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and watching the whole rescue play out on television.

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Spy Melissa McCarthy
20th Century Fox
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‘Spy’ Review: An Empowering but Uneven Female Spy Spoof

Paul Feig’s The Heat took a genre that has traditionally belonged to men — the buddy cop movie — and gave it a female twist. Feig’s new movie, Spy, does much the same thing, this time for spy films, a world that has long been by, about, and for dudes and their power fantasies. Spy explicitly subverts the genre’s typical gender dynamics by casting Melissa McCarthy as a lowly, desk-bound CIA analyst named Susan Cooper, who has spent her entire career in the shadow of a glamorous James Bond-esque spy (Jude Law) and then finally gets her opportunity to step into the spotlight and become a full-fledged field agent.

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Jaws
Universal
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‘Jaws’ Is Coming Back to Theaters For Its 40th Anniversary

On June 20, 1975 a movie about an angry fish opened in about 500 theaters around the country. It was called Jaws, it was directed a guy named Steven Spielberg, it was scary as hell, and it changed the world forever. Its unique release strategy (wide instead of limited), intense television marketing campaign, and record-breaking box office essentially created the summer movie season (and made Spielberg a household name). 40 years later, regardless of its impact, Jaws remains a masterpiece, and a much better and more interesting movie than the vast majority of so-called summer blockbusters that it birthed.

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San Andreas 1
Warner Bros.
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‘San Andreas’ Review: Seek Cover From This Dumb Disaster Movie

The classics of this genre featured danger and destruction on a scale a guy could wrap his head around; a hijacked airplane, a skyscraper on fire, a capsized ocean liner filling with water. But when you live by spectacle, you die by it too. And so the disasters got bigger and bigger, one movie trying to top the next, until it became an arms race of planetary devastation. One movie blows up the White House, the next one washes it away in a tidal wave. Where do you go from there? An exploding tidal wave? At this point, if your disaster movie isn’t eradicating a large portion of the globe, don’t even waste your time.

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Category: Movie News

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