Super Bowl LIII: Here’s Every Ad That Brands Have Dropped So Far Before the Big Game (Updating)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

On Sunday, the New England Patriots will take on the Los Angeles Rams to see who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LIII.

But for the many non-football fans who tune in for the game on Super Bowl Sunday, it also represents the best and funniest from the advertising world. The Super Bowl remains the most expensive ad buy on TV, with CBS getting between $5.1 and $5.3 million for 30-seconds of airtime, an individual with knowledge of the negotiations tells TheWrap.

Last year’s game cast ad buyers an average of $5.2 million for 30-seconds of airtime, according to data from ad-tracking firm Kantar Media. Overall, NBC brought in $482 million in ad time for last year’s coverage, which included pre- and post-game shows (for the game itself, NBC generated $408 million).

Also Read: Super Bowl LIII Preview: Will Rams-Patriots Deliver a Record TV Audience for CBS?

Below, TheWrap has rounded up every commercial, teaser or preview that will air during the Big Game:

Skittles

“Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will star in “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical,” which will be staged in front of a live audience at The Town Hall in New York on Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. EST.

So is it an actual Super Bowl commercial? Well, yes and no. The play is an actual advertisement for Skittles starring Hall, and it will take place on the same day as the game. But the musical itself is a real, one-time-only performance in lieu of an actual commercial during the game.

Also Read: 20 Famous New England Patriots Fans, From Ben Affleck to Mark Wahlberg (Photos)

Budweiser

A Dalmatian, Bob Dylan and, of course, the famous Budweiser Clydesdales appear in the beverage-maker’s Super Bowl ad touting that it’s now brewed with 100 percent renewable electricity from wind power.

Pepsi

Lil Jon, Steve Carell and Cardi B will star in Pepsi’s Super Bowl, and they’re all asking the same question.

Also Read: YouTube TV Expands Nationwide Ahead of Super Bowl

M&Ms

Christina Applegate gets locked out of her car at the grocery store and doesn’t appear too amused about it. You’ll have to watch the Super Bowl to find out what M&Ms’ role is here.

Mr. Peanut

Mr. Peanut and Alex Rodriguez: Dynamic duo.

Stella Artois

Now here’s a mashup we would’ve never expected. Jeff Bridges reprised his “The Big Lebowski” character, The Dude, to share a drink with Sarah Jessica Parker, reprising her own iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City.”

Also Read: ‘Twilight Zone’: Taissa Farmiga and Ike Barinholtz Join Jordan Peele’s CBS All Access Reboot

Doritos

Chance the Rapper and The Backstreet Boys are teaming up for Doritos’ Super Bowl ad. It looks like Chance is having a tough time fitting (and dancing) in.

Michelob ULTRA

Michelob ULTRA put out a pair of widely-different teasers for its Super Bowl ads. One features a robot and the other Zoe Kravitz in the quietest ad in history. We’re just as confused as you are.

Pringles

Alexa… are you OK?

Also Read: CBS Renews Trio of Freshman Series ‘FBI,’ ‘The Neighborhood’ and ‘Magnum PI’


Olay

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in Olay’s first-ever Super Bowl ad that plays on her horror film chops in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scream 2.”

Expensify

In recent years, the Super Bowl has been home to unknown brands looking to get in front of the massive audience that will watch the game. Expensify, a software company that develops an expense management system for personal and business use, has enlisted 2 Chainz and Adam Scott to talk about finance management.

WeatherTech

We know next to nothing about what WeatherTech — who has become a Super Bowl mainstay in recent years — has planned for its Super Bowl ad. But the teaser has a dog, and that’s good enough for us.

Also Read: How David Oyelowo and Storm Reid Became the Stars of ‘Relive’ – a Film Originally About White People on an Ohio Farm (Video)

Burger King

We don’t know what Burger King is preparing to do for the fast food chain’s Super Bowl ad… we just know he’s spending a lot of time getting ready for it.

Super Bowl LIII airs Sunday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on CBS

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‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Teaser: Police Lineup for Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Co. (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

HBO’s Golden Globes trailer for its upcoming slate of shows offered a doozy of a hint about what’s next on “Big Little Lies”: a shot of stars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern in what looks a lot like a police lineup.

They’re wearing the same costumes they wore to the school fundraiser in the Season 1 finale of the show, in which their characters tag-teamed a coverup of the death of Alexander Skarsgård’s character — the abusive husband of Kidman’s Celeste Wright.

Police interviews with witnesses popped up throughout Season 1, so we knew the crew didn’t get away clean. But the shot of the police lineup hints that the women may not be out of legal peril. (Of course, we got the sense that that wasn’t the case when we saw that a mystery person was spying on them on the beach at the end of the finale.)

Also Read: ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 ‘Looking at June’ Premiere, Nicole Kidman Says

This isn’t the first lineup on “Big Little Lies”: In Season 1, schoolboys had to stand in line after one of them was accused of choking Amabella, daughter of Renata (Dern).

Could it be a dream sequence? A nightmare? There’s definitely a dark, dreamy quality to the sequence. But if one of our leads is dreaming of police lineups, it’s probably a safe guess that she doesn’t feel completely out of the woods in the killing.

“Big Little Lies,” based on Liane Moriarty’s novel, was supposed to be a miniseries, but proved such a hit that HBO opted to give fans what they want.

Also Read: ‘Game of Thrones’: Sansa Hands Winterfell Over to Daenerys in New Footage From Final Season (Video)

As executive producers, Witherspoon and Kidman were the first to announce the show’s second season, with David E. Kelley writing and Andrea Arnold in the director’s chair. This time, the castmates will also be joined by Meryl Streep.

The show doesn’t yet have a premiere date, but Kidman said on New Year’s Eve that everyone is “looking at June.”

Watch the HBO video above, which also includes a first-look at “Watchmen” and hints about the future of “Game of Thrones.”

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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ – The Big Twist Ending and That Lestrange Family Drama, Explained

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Huge spoilers here for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” below. You have been warned.)

So here you are. You’ve experienced all the craziness that “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” had in store for you. And you’re totally confused by all of it because, well, every twist and turn could have probably been explained more clearly.

But it is what it is, and what it is can be really tough to digest — especially if you aren’t steeped in “Harry Potter” lore. And even if you are a lifelong Potterhead it might take a minute for all of it to sink in because of how much lore this new “Fantastic Beasts” movie is dropping on us.

So regardless of what level of “Harry Potter” fandom you’re one, we’re here to help you by distilling down the major revelations in a way that’s perhaps easier to understand than it was in the movie. So let’s get to it.

Also Read: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Film Review: J.K. Rowling Conjures More Magic and Messiness

So, obviously, the bulk of the twists and turns in “The Crimes of Grindelwald” largely revolve around Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the Obscurial from the first movie who we all thought was dead but who actually was not. Don’t get too hung up on his survival, because it’s not explained how he made it out.

So at this point Credence is on a mission to find out who his birth family was. You’ll recall that Credence was adopted when he was very young, and that his adopted mom referred to his real mom as “unnatural.” That term is almost certainly just referring to his mother’s magical abilities — Credence became an Obscurial because his adopted mother hated magic and tried to suppress his use of magic as he was growing up.

Throughout the movie people speculate that Credence is actually Corvus Lestrange, the long lost son Corvus Sr. and brother of Leta (Zoe Kravitz). A mysterious man named Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) is chasing after Credence on exactly that assumption — Yusuf is angry that Corvus Sr. bewitched his mother Laurena and essentially stole her, and wants to get back at him by killing the person he loved the most: Corvus Jr.

Also Read: Ezra Miller’s Out-There ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Premiere Look: ‘Human Duvet’ or ‘Sassy Sleeping Bag’?

The truth about Credence’s identity is complicated, because of a weird story that Leta tells everybody. When she was a kid, the Lestrange family was on a ship and baby Corvus wouldn’t stop crying during a big storm. So Leta took baby Corvus out of his crib, carried him across the hall to another cabin and swapped him for another baby — one who was sleeping soundly.

Moments later, while Leta was still holding this other baby, the ship began to sink, and everyone went for the lifeboats. So the Lestranges took this other anonymous baby with this, leaving Corvus with another family. While the Lestranges survived, the other family’s lifeboat capsized, apparently killing baby Corvus.

Credence is that other unnamed baby. So for a time he definitely was Corvus Lestrange, even though he actually was not.

At some point after that, this young Credence was given up or lost by the Lestranges — it’s still not clear why he ended up being adopted by the woman from the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. That’s a mystery that presumably JK Rowling is holding back for a future movie.

Also Read: Newt Scamader’s Boggart in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Is Eddie Redmayne’s Dream

At the end of the movie, once Credence joins up with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Grindelwald tells him that his true name is Aurelius Dumbledore. And that Credence’s brother has been trying to stop him. The implication being that said brother is Albus Dumbledore — the Dumbledore we know from all the “Harry Potter” movies and the only other Dumbledore in this movie.

This is a whole can of worms, of course. Aurelius Dumbledore is a totally new name that we’ve never heard before, and certainly Dumbledore had never mentioned a dead brother. In fact, when the opportunity to mention a dead brother came up he specifically referenced his dead sister Ariana. So it’s entirely possible that Dumbledore didn’t know that Aurelius existed — or that Grindelwald is just making this up.

Some big new mysteries that come up because of this revelation, assuming it’s true. Let’s run through them real quick.

Who was Credence’s mother? Dumbledore’s mother, Kendra, died in 1899. Which would mean that Credence would have to be at least 28 in “Crimes of Grindelwald.” While Credence’s age in the movies hasn’t been established, it seems like a stretch that he would be that old. Ezra Miller is only 26, and he said in an interview back in 2016 that Credence was 18 in the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Which would make him way too young to be Kendra Dumbledore’s son.

Also Read: Eddie Redmayne’s Favorite Beast in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Is Probably Yours Too

Percival Dumbledore is still in play as the father, however. Percival was locked in Azkaban in 1890 for attacking some muggles who were harassing his daughter Ariana, and we know nothing about his life after he was locked up — leaving plenty of room for whatever retcons JK Rowling wants to do with him. So if Aurelius is actually Albus Dumbledore’s brother, Percival would almost certainly need to have fathered him. But with who? It’s really impossible to guess. But if Grindelwald knows Credence’s identity, then the mother may be someone he knows.

The other big question is who was baby Credence traveling with when young Leta absconded with him. Whoever it was died that night. This may be the same thing as the other question, given that “Crimes of Grindelwald” makes a big thing of showing a woman swimming after and reaching for the swapped-in baby Corvus Lestrange as he sank to the bottom of the ocean. But we don’t know who that woman was — if she was Credence’s mom or a nanny or what.

Lastly, we still don’t know how or why Credence ended up being adopted. Whatever the circumstances were, they led most everybody to believe he was dead.

So the short version: Leta Lestrange swapped her baby brother Corvus for a baby supposedly named Aurelius Dumbledore, who was later by some means separated from the Lestrange family and ended up becoming Credence Barebone.

Someday this will all make sense, presumably.

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Does ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With the release of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” we are now officially waist deep in this “Harry Potter” prequelverse. This prequel sequel is full of non-stop twists and turns, and drops some major bombshells that will reverberate throughout Pottermore lore.

And we’ve still got three more “Fantastic Beasts” movies on the way from director David Yates and series creator/screenwriter JK Rowling. So, given the current trend of Hollywood blockbusters teasing future movies through bonus, post-credits scenes in the vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might be wondering if “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” features some kind of look at the next movie hidden after the credits. You wouldn’t want to bail for the restroom only to miss such a thing, after all.

Well, if you’re in a rush to get out of the theater once the credits start rolling, I have some good news for you. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” does not feature any bonus scenes or extra content whatsoever once the credits start rolling. No mid-credits scene, no post-credits scene, no heavy breathing over the end of the credits crawl. Once the movie ends and the credits get going, that’s it.

Also Read: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Film Review: J.K. Rowling Conjures More Magic and Messiness

We should say, of course, that we always encourage all moviegoers to stick around for the credits when possible, for the sake of the many, many people who helped bring the movie to life. But if you need to get out of there, you can do so knowing that you’re not missing any cool, secret extra scenes or anything like that.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gindelwald,” by the way, was directed by David Yates — who was responsible for the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie as well as the last four “Harry Potter” films — and written by “Harry Potter” creator JK Rowling. It stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Zoe Kravitz, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Callum Turner and, of course, Johnny Depp.

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The Wizarding World gets a lot bigger in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” a new fantasy adventure that plays like a 1,000-page novel shoved into a 134-minute running time. It’s full of exciting new characters, revelations and storylines, but the only way you could possibly keep them all in the air at the same time would be to use a Wingardium Leviosa spell. And spoiler alert: Those don’t actually exist.

The year is 1927, and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has been imprisoned by the American Ministry of Magic (side note: it’s odd that Americans would call it that). He’s getting transported by thestral coach all the way to Europe (those things must have a lot of stamina), but his loyal followers bust him loose in an action set piece that would be totally awesome and thrilling if the editing wasn’t so choppy and the lighting wasn’t so dark that it’s hard to tell what’s going on.

Several months later, Grindelwald is still at large, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) still isn’t allowed to leave England to pursue his zoological studies. His brother Theseus (Callum Turner) is engaged to Newt’s high school crush, Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), and wants Newt to join him as an Auror, a.k.a. the magic police (for all you Muggles out there).

Watch Video: Johnny Depp’s Wizard Is Front and Center in Final ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Trailer

Newt is still a kind, quiet soul, unable to meet most people’s gaze when they talk to him, let alone take sides in a war. So he refuses to join the Aurors, even though it would mean he could finally leave the country, and he even refuses his old professor, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), who wants Newt to travel to Paris to track down Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who’s been missing since the end of the first “Fantastic Beasts” and still has a sinister, all-powerful magic parasite inside him called an Obscurus.

Okay, try to keep all that in your head, because we haven’t even set up the plot yet. Newt reunites with his old Muggle pal Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), whose memory wasn’t as erased as we were led to believe, and who is now engaged, illegally, to his psychic witch girlfriend Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol, “Transparent”), whose sister Tina (Katherine Waterston) is already in Paris, searching for Grindelwald.

Also Read: Jude Law Didn’t Go to Wand School Before ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ So He Practiced With a Twig

It gets more complicated. Much more complicated. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplays for these “Fantastic Beasts” movies, and one gets the distinct impression that she’s actually writing whole novels first and then never showing them to anybody, shaving off bits and bobs for time, and trusting her loyal audience to ascribe importance to everything, even if it gets short shrift on screen.

This could have been a serious problem, since director David Yates has a tendency to treat his “Wizarding World” movies like illustrations instead of adaptations, giving audiences the gist of what happens but forgetting to toy with our emotions or to reintroduce us to the characters and their wonderful world. But “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” though dense to a fault, always takes time to explore glorious moments of magic, to add levity to the grimmest moments, and to give almost all the characters time to shine. Emphasis on “almost.”

Also Read: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ on Pace to Match Original’s Opening Weekend

Newt remains one of the most distinctive heroes in blockbuster cinema, a quiet introvert who approaches every character and every beast with love and understanding and no small amount of awkwardness. Redmayne seems to have a firmer grasp on what makes Newt work, and the way he loosens up and gets more comfortable when he’s in his element. He tames giant, terrifying monsters like they were ornery housecats, and extends his hand to even the most malevolent wizards, even though he can barely talk to his friends.

The new characters don’t always fare so well, with seemingly important characters like Leta Lestrange and Nagini (Claudia Kim), who is cursed to gradually transform permanently into a giant snake, given important-sounding backstories but then precious little to actually do. Even Credence Barebone — for whom everyone is searching, and whose story seems to drive the entire “Fantastic Beasts” franchise — disappears for large chunks of screen time, making him seem too much like an afterthought.

Dumbledore, finally making an official appearance in these prequels, is a welcome return to the series. Jude Law captures the quick wit, easy charm and cloying inscrutability of the character, who is already considered one of the greatest wizards in the world but who refuses to face Grindelwald himself. “We were closer than brothers,” Dumbledore says, as he watches memories that evoke, but still refuse to openly admit to, the character’s obvious homosexuality, which is turning into an enormous distraction.

This inability to confront this wide wizarding world’s lack of representation is compounded by the treatment of Nagini, who is introduced as a sideshow attraction at a magical circus, then gets precious little opportunity to reveal who she really is, and why she’s more than just an example of awkward foreshadowing for her appearance in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

It’s hard to keep all these characters and storylines going, and the failings are annoying because the rest of the movie is fascinating and thrilling. After an awkward start with the first “Fantastic Beasts,” these “Crimes of Grindelwald” finally capture the promise of this new series, to view the world of magic and wonder through the eyes of adults instead of children, and to explore shadowy corners without completely losing track of just how delightful it all is. The actual investigation conducted by Newt, Tina, and just about everybody else is an intriguing adventure with exciting revelations. They just probably would have made more of an impact if the movie wasn’t so rushed for time that key elements feel like afterthoughts instead of lodestones.

“The Crimes of Grindelwald” probably had enough plot to drive a four-hour mini-series, but even so, what we get is often absorbing and grand. The sense that this magical world is actually, well, fantastic is finally back in the series. Although the film turns grim, and eventually evokes truly uncomfortable memories of the build-up to World War II — and, frankly, today — the delightful cast, exciting new creatures and dazzling new spells make it an enchanting place to visit; it’s just so scary and confusing that you probably wouldn’t want to live there.



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Jude Law Didn’t Go to Wand School Before ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ So He Practiced With a Twig

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Wands are an integral part of wizards’ daily lives in the Harry Potter Universe, and anyone who has seen the films or read the books knows that wand lore plays a key role in the story, so it makes sense that if you’re going to portray one of the wizarding world’s most beloved and iconic wizards, you’d need to learn to wield a wand, right?

Jude Law, who plays a younger version of Albus Dumbledore in Warner Bros.’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” however, didn’t receive the traditional wand schooling some of the other actors on the film did.

“Yeah, I think some things changed between the first and second film. It turns out Jude didn’t get wand school, but the rest of us I think did,” Katherine Waterston, who plays Tina Goldstein, said during a Q&A at a fan screening event TheWrap attended at Universal Studios Hollywood on Saturday. A couple other cast members also confessed to missing out on wand school.

“I like to think it’s because we didn’t need it,” joked Law.

Also Read: Who the Hell Is Nagini, the Snake Woman in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’?

He may have skipped wand school, but that doesn’t mean Law didn’t put in some swish and flick practice on his own to prepare.

“I found out from Jude just now that when he got the part he was on holiday with his family and he just went and picked up a twig and just spent the entire holiday walking around with a twig,” said castmate Eddie Redmayne, who plays the film’s lead Newt Scamander.

“It was good practice,” Law said. “So Eddie’s right — I did carry around this stick for most of my summer holiday practicing and then I only got to say one spell in the whole of the film.”

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Not all of the new cast members got out of going to wand school. Callum Turner, who plays Redmayne’s brother Theseus Scamander in the film, joked that he had to spend seven months learning how to properly hold and use his wand.

As Turner explained that his biggest takeaway was not going over the top, Redmayne interrupted to tease him.

“I don’t want to throw my brother under a bus here, but he broke his wand on the first test,” Redmayne told the crowd.

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As all Harry Potter fans know, the wand chooses the wizard, but new cast member Zoe Kravitz — who plays the mysterious Leta Lestrange — bemoaned not being able to choose her wand for the film. She also said the worst part, however, is when they took her wand away at the end of filming.

“I was really, really nervous. It was kind of like the first day at school, you know? But everyone was so welcoming,” Kravitz said of joining the cast. “The best moment is when they hand you your wand, and the worst moment is when they take it away at the end.”

“Oh, yeah you can keep one for $75,000,” joked Credence Barebone actor Ezra Miller.

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That House in ‘Beautiful Boy’ Is the Same Place Zoë Kravitz Lived in ‘Big Little Lies’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you went to see “Beautiful Boy and thought the spacious house Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell live in looks familiar, there’s a great reason for that: you’ve seen it before on ‘Big Little Lies.”

In an interview with Vulture, “Beautiful Boy” production designer Ethan Tobman confirmed that the house featured in the film is the same as the open Monterey home Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) and Nathan (James Tupper) occupy in HBO’s hit miniseries.

“Beautiful Boy” tracks the relationship between David Sheff (Carell) and his son, Nic (Chalamet), as Nic struggles with addiction.  And the house was chosen with that dynamic in mind. “The goal was to accurately portray their family dynamic, and their architectural choices, but also the feeling we had when we were there,” Tobman told Vulture. “This was a home we would have loved to have grown up in, progressive, artistic, encouraging self-expression, intellect, freedom of personality, and yet Nic Sheff found it impossible to deal with reality on a day-to-day basis.”

Also Read: ‘Beautiful Boy’ Opens Beautifully at Indie Box Office

According to Tobman, the house was selected because it was conceptually similar to the house owned by the real-life Sheff family depicted in “Beautiful Boy,” despite looking nothing like it. But to make the space feel more authentic, the crew made changes that would evoke the Sheff’s actual home.

“We went about converting the home on location to look a little bit more like the Sheff’s home,” said Tobman. “To break up the wood, which would have been too monotonous onscreen, we introduced color, and introduced the art projects. We replaced all the counters with a mosaic found objects, tile, and broken glass, that Karen [Barbour, wife of David Sheff] would have done herself.

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Zoë Kravitz to star in Disney’s High Fidelity TV series

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After lengthy negotiations, Zoë Kravitz (Big Little Lies) has been tapped to star and executive produce High Fidelity, the reimagining of Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel and the 2000 feature starring John Cusack with a female point of view, which had been in …

Reese Witherspoon Totally Redeems Herself in Jimmy Fallon’s Post-Emmys ‘Lip Sync Charades’ (Video)

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The post-Emmys “Tonight Show” wasn’t short on fun and games — or guests — as Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz and Lenny Kravitz joined Jimmy Fallon for “Lip Sync Charades.”
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‘Kin’ Film Review: Genre Mashup About an Alien Weapon Shoots Itself in the Foot

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

On television, “Kin” could have been a successful backdoor pilot about two estranged brothers, two motorcycle-riding Daft Punk copycats, a heavily-tattooed James Franco, and the road trip that brings them all together.

On film, it has all of the weird, irresponsible potential of a “Boondock Saints” franchise, insisting that there’s something substantial, cultural climate be damned, in its punky adolescent fantasy about an orphaned black kid who finds a laser pistol. Featuring Dennis Quaid, Zoe Kravitz and Carrie Coon in roles that define “thankless” as Jack Reynor (“Sing Street”) and newcomer Miles Truitt (“Queen Sugar”) soldier bravely through misshapen rhythms of quasi-futuristic fraternal bonding, “Kin” feels like a level up for its co-directors from a short film that was too ambitiously envisioned as a franchise.

Truitt plays Elijah Solinski, the adopted son of Hal (Quaid) and brother of Jimmy (Reynor), an ex-con whose recent stint in prison racked up $60,000 in debt to Taylor Bolek (Franco), a local gun runner. Suspended from school for fighting, Elijah earns money stripping wiring from the walls of local buildings, where one day he finds what looks like a laser pistol, and only he seems to be able to operate it.

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Hal finds out and goes apoplectic; he doesn’t want his adopted son to follow Jimmy’s path, and he’s replaced tenderness and understanding with strict discipline in the wake of his wife’s death. But while doling out a life lesson to Elijah in the hopes of keeping him on the straight and narrow, Hal intercepts Jimmy and Taylor stealing from his safe, and in an ensuing firefight Jimmy, gets out — but Hal doesn’t.

With Taylor hot on their heels, Jimmy tells Elijah that they’re going on a family vacation, and Hal will join them later. Making off with his father’s money, the two of them head towards Lake Tahoe and begin to bond, simultaneously crossing paths with Milly (Kravitz), a stripper happy to liberate herself from an unhappy job. But as the authorities begin to investigate the robbery at Hal’s office, Jimmy grows less and less sure how to tell Elijah that their father is dead, especially given the fact that Taylor is determined to kill them even if they aren’t apprehended by police.

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But after Elijah uses the laser pistol to get the trio out of a jam, it alerts two mysterious leather-clad strangers to their location, leading to an intense confrontation — between the three fugitives, Taylor and his crew, the cops, and these new pursuers — that has ramifications far deeper than Jimmy, or especially Elijah, could ever imagine.

Notwithstanding the questionable optics of a 14-year-old black kid wielding (what looks like) a toy gun while cops chase him across the country, most of the race-related issues in “Kin” are either driven by naïveté or overshadowed by much more significant narrative or performance problems. Primarily, there’s the issue of an adopted kid, Elijah, whose birth parents he never knew, raised by an adoptive mother who died and a father who seems pathologically incapable of compassion, who them himself dies. Jimmy is one of those movie screw-ups where everything he does is really not so bad, uh, except for getting their father killed, and then deceiving his little brother about it for several days, not long after his mother died.

The movie at least acknowledges that this is big news, but first-time writer-directors Jonathan and Josh Baker scarcely seem aware of the larger psychological repercussions of either Elijah’s background or his current circumstances, and they handle Jimmy’s revelation in such a cowardly way that somehow, by comparison, Taylor is the only character in the ensemble who emerges with any dignity.

Also Read: HBO ‘Felt Comfortable’ Proceeding With ‘The Deuce’ After Reviewing James Franco Accusations

After “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Sing Street,” Reynor has peaked as an actor playing ne’er-do-well characters we’re supposed to love, and here he just seems like a complete a-hole: after being directly responsible for Hal’s death, he steals his money, spends it until he gets in trouble, steals some more, and shepherds Elijah through an odyssey of trouble for which he is not in any way ready, laser pistol or no.

Truitt demonstrates a quiet intensity that audiences will immediately identify with, and which promises terrific things from the young actor, but he’s forced to make believable a sequence of events that barely seem interconnected; the Baker brothers want this to be both a gritty family drama and a sci-fi-laced adventure, but through no fault of Triutt’s — and in fact, despite his admirable effort — the underlying emotions simply do not track. Meanwhile, there’s little else to do while Kravitz is on screen than wonder why someone as talented as she sought the role of a stripper-turned-babysitter whose biggest scene involves taking a personal inventory of abuse to bond with a teenager.

Then of course there’s the Daft Punk duo, mysterious individuals riding motorcycles like a couple of maniacs and whose involvement in Elijah’s journey hints at a wild and operatic future storyline should this first film be a success. But much like Carrie Coon, who shows up as the film is ending to provide one female character who isn’t either dead, a stripper or a junkie, the Bakers seem to have telegraphed their expectations of a bigger and more impressive ending without thinking enough about the journey to get there.

Ultimately, “Kin” probably could have worked as a straightforward drama about two troubled brothers and the parental deaths that bonded them, or maybe it would have succeeded as a “Flight of the Navigator”-style road trip that slowly and skillfully takes on mythic sci-fi proportions. But its chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination of the two feels disjointed and unsatisfying, mostly because it never feels complete or thought through enough, either as a story or more crucially, an emotional experience — which is exactly what audiences would need in order to want to see more.



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Comic-Con in the #MeToo Era: Progress Comes One Panel at a Time

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

For many, the big “if” looming over San Diego Comic-Con 2018 was just how the biggest annual gathering of geeks in the world would respond to the rapidly changing cultural climate exemplified by the #MeToo movement.

Would the convention organization openly address the vast changes that have rocked Hollywood and other industries in the last 10 months? Would it be business-as-usual for SDCC or major studios? And have the creators and their fans embraced these changes?

Based on what TheWrap saw, the answers are: A frustrated “no,” a cautiously optimistic “probably not,” and for the most part, an enthusiastic “hell yes.”

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Officially, Comic-Con was silent about #MeToo. When SDCC programming director Eddie Ibrahim gave his traditional kick off speech in Hall H on Thursday morning, notably absent was any mention of the convention’s harassment policies. That continued for all four days of the convention.

But Comic-Con as an organization has been subjected over the last half-decade to calls to adopt more explicit policies regarding sexual harassment. This effort was most visible in 2014, led by a group called Geeks for CONsent.

Those earlier criticisms took on a new relevance last year, after stories accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct prompted a wave of women and some men to come forward with their own experiences as victims of abuse.

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The geek space was no exception: most recently, Comic-Con mainstay Chris Hardwick stepped down as moderator of several of this year’s panels after accusations that he emotionally and sexually abused former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. (Hardwick has denied any abuse, and on Wednesday AMC cleared him to return to work following an investigation into the accusations.)

Comic-Con for its part has chosen not to update those anti-harassment policies, which state in part that “harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated,” and that “persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy” should seek out security or SDCC staff.

Whatever actions the organization is taking behind the scenes, it ultimately chose not to discuss them publicly. Comic-Con International did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap

Also Read: Comic-Con Kicks Off With No Mention of Chris Hardwick or #MeToo

Unofficially, fans and creators were frequently vocal in support of greater inclusion and representation, and in talking about harassment and abuse.

The panel for NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” on Friday night was a particular stand out, with cast members, producers, and fans touching on a range of sensitive issues. Notably, one fan thanked Terry Crews, who accused William Morris Endeavor agent Adam Venit of groping him, “for your part in #MeToo,” adding, “I’m so sorry for all of us that are part of #MeToo that you have to be part of it.”

And at a panel called “The Future Is Female,” “Bumblebee” and “Birds of Prey” screenwriter Christina Hodson got huge cheers and lots of knowing muttering when she celebrated the successes of the #MeToo era but noted that much work remains.

“Nine months ago, no one gave a s—. Like, no one cares what happens. Now everything has shifted. So I think behavior on set, in writers’ rooms, that’s all going to shift. So I’m very happy about that,” she said.

But, she continued, “Just because we’re talking about it now and just because [“Wonder Woman” director] Patty Jenkins kicked a–, it doesn’t mean everything’s fixed. And I think we just gotta be mindful. But one or two big movies, like out there front and center, don’t change the fact that the numbers are really, really bad.”

Also Read: Jamie Lee Curtis Embraces Fan Who Says Her ‘Halloween’ Character Saved His Life (Video)

One of the most memorable moments came during Friday’s panel for “Halloween,” when star Jamie Lee Curtis appeared to allude to #MeToo when she described her character’s arc in the latest franchise entry: “She is saying, ‘I am not my trauma. She’s been waiting 40 years to have this person who she knows is coming and to say, ‘I am going to take back the legacy. I am going take back my narrative.’”

That got huge applause from the audience, which was outdone minutes later when a fan told Curtis during the Q&A how being inspired by her performance in the iconic first “Halloween” helped save his life during a home invasion. Curtis stepped off the stage to embrace him, prompting a standing ovation.

Hardwick, in contrast, cast a long, largely unremarked-upon shadow over the Hall H auditorium he has held court in for so many years. He was originally set to moderate the panels for “Doctor Who,” as well as AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” in Hall H. Neither the moderators who replaced him in these panels — including Yvette Nicole Brown, who is also taking over his “Talking Dead” duties — nor fans brought him up, either directly or indirectly.

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Warner Bros. featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp during the studio’s Saturday Hall H presentation of “Fantastic Beasts 2,” in-character as the villain Grindelwald. It was a fun, if mumbled performance, but the elephant in the room was Depp’s contentious divorce from Amber Heard, who accused the actor of abuse — and who also appeared as part of Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman” panel just 20 minutes later.

Also interesting from our vantage point, the relative frequency of #MeToo references was matched by political moments in general at Comic-Con, even while the event itself was largely as apolitical as always. And those moments leaned left.

During Warner Bros.’ presentation Saturday, “Fantastic Beasts” cast member Zoe Kravitz was asked by a fan what she would do if she had magic in real life: she replied, “Impeach Trump,” prompting a room full of loud cheering.

And later that day,”Man in the High Castle” producer Isa Dick Hackett remarked that they were not changing the show — about an alternate history in which Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan won World War II — to match reality, but rather that it seemed reality was changing to match the show.

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Generally, as we witnessed it, this was how things played out — panelists tended not to bring up socials issues on their own, but usually didn’t shy away when fans asked about them. Though one especially notable moment came Saturday during The CW’s slate of Ballroom 20 panels, when “Supergirl” announced the groundbreaking casting of Nicole Maines as television’s first openly transgender superhero, Dreamer.

And though Comic-Con did not comment on the cultural situation officially, at the annual Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics, held on the Friday night of Comic-Con), women were front and center. Marjorie Liu became the first woman in Comic-Con history to win best writer, Joye Murchison Kelly and the late Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk became the first women to win the Bill Finger award, and in all, women were named winners in 23 out of 38 categories.

There are of course hundreds of panels every year, and a full accounting of them is difficult. But from what TheWrap saw on the ground, though Comic-Con continues to avoid taking any overt stance, things are changing anyway — even if the convention tries to look very much the same.

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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ Trailer Returns To Hogwarts; Johnny Depp Casts A Spell On Audience – Comic-Con

Read on: Deadline.

The Warner Bros panel kicked off a day of programming in Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — featuring a new trailer and a surprise guest.
With a 360-degree video presentation and Eddie Redmayne ca…

Jude Law Drops Hints About Young Dumbledore in ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ From His Wand to ‘Interior Life’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jude Law wants you to know that “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is only the beginning of Albus Dumbledore’s story — but that didn’t stop the actor from spilling the beans about the character.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Law said he didn’t look much at the performances of previous Dumbledore actors, Richard Harris and Michael Gambon, because his version is “a man with almost 100 years ahead of him before he became that character so we wanted to look at who he was in this moment and construct our own version.”

The actor went on to describe what his version will be like.

Also Read: No, Jude Law’s Dumbledore Still Isn’t ‘Explicitly’ Gay in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel

“The one thing that came out was the sense of play. He has a youthful mercurial approach to life, but that there’s something that hangs heavy in his heart, in his past, that underlies all of that. There’s a root of good humor and good heart and sense of self and a sense of past,” Law said. “There’s a sense of humor and mischief, a dash of anarchy, a sense of what’s right and what he believes in, and a sense of mystery. There’s also how he comes around to get people onto his way of thinking — which is rather indirectly. He also has a certain heaviness about him that I don’t want to reveal too much about — and that’s something he has to overcome, or hopes to overcome. He’s also got a great passion for sharing his knowledge, he’s a powerful and inclusive teacher.”

Contrary to popular belief, fans won’t see Dumbledore teaching Transfiguration in this stage of his life, although the story says he used to be a Transfiguration teacher before becoming the headmaster of Hogwarts.

In fact (spoiler alert!), the young Albus only gets to cast one spell in the upcoming film, and it’s not with his Elder Wand.

“Albus doesn’t have the Elder Wand yet, no,” said Law. “I have a wand. It’s very reflective of him, beautiful dark wood root with a stone on one end.”

Earlier this year, director David Yates said the character was not “explicitly gay” in this film, although years ago, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling said Dumbledore was gay. Now, Law said that Dumbledore’s sexuality doesn’t define him and that there’s so much to learn about the character because he’s so “multifaceted.”

Also Read: Jude Law Talks Young Dumbledore’s Sexuality: ‘Another Layer’ to ‘Great Wizard’ (Exclusive)

“Jo Rowling revealed some years back that Dumbledore was gay. That was a question I actually asked Jo and she said, yes, he’s gay,” said Law. “But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted. I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember this is only the second ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time. You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”

One last revelation — Law didn’t actually film any scenes with Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald, with whom Dumbledore is said to have been in love in his younger years.

“As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story. I’ve always admired him from afar, but we don’t know each other, and I’ve not yet met him on this,” said Law. “In many ways that suits the relationship as it’s been many years since they’ve seen each other. So there’s complexity in that that’s fun to mine. Again, the past will reveal itself.”

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz and Carmen Ejogo and will hit theaters on November 16.

Check out the full EW interview with Law here.

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‘Gemini’ Film Review: Lola Kirke’s Celeb Assistant Turns Sleuth in Twisty Tinseltown Tale

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In “Gemini,” Aaron Katz regards Los Angeles the way many transplant filmmakers seem to: intrigued, repulsed and yet hopelessly in love. The allure resides in L.A.’s visible, unapologetic contradictions. No one wants you here, but everyone is quick to say, “Hello, hi, happy to have you” in anticipation of a time where they may need you. Relationships are transactional; people, disposable.

Katz understands this dubiousness from the get-go, beginning with the relationship between assistant (Lola Kirke as Jill) and starlet (Heather, played by Zoe Kravitz). The power dynamic is present, but not dominating. Jill is composed, honest and eager to defend her boss. When Heather decides to renege on a commitment she made with a filmmaker (Nelson Franklin, “New Girl”), Jill takes the wheel. When her agent subsequently rings, enraged, Jill handles it.

Is she responsive out of professional obligation, or personal affection? Is it work or is it friendship? The film blurs the line, especially as Heather confides in Jill. “You’re one of my only true friends,” she admits. In a bit of ingenious casting, Kravitz plays a prototypical movie-star: impossibly gorgeous, staggeringly smart and tragically alone.

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For the film’s opening 25 minutes, the audience is introduced to an alternate cinematic experience. Katz leads us to believe we’re about to watch an inside-baseball showcase about the machinations of Hollywood, but “Gemini” proves to be more “The Fugitive” than “The Player.”

In a surprising turn of events, a murder changes the whole movie. (Death has a tendency to do that.) Without dispensing vital details, let’s just say Jill is tasked with discovering what happened and who did what, inadvertently enlisting herself as an amateur hawkshaw. The tonal shift could’ve easily undid what Katz built in his first act. It doesn’t. Instead, “Gemini” transitions into an at once sleazy and slick genre thriller, enigmatic without being alienating. There’s suspense in the movie’s central mystery, enough to sustain the characters Katz has created.

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The heavy-lifting is done by Kirke (“Mistress America”), as she transforms mild-mannered, subdued Jill into a more powerful presence. As an act of self-preservation, Jill begins looking out for herself. This is especially true as Detective Ahn (John Cho) begins his rigorous line of questioning. Kirke and Cho have banter that moves across a wide emotional spectrum: concerned, playful, incredulous. It’s a testament to both performers that we’re given three-dimensional characters.

This prismatic nature of these characters is where Katz’s past comes into play. The Portland-born filmmaker has had a long-standing on-again, off-again relationship with mumble-core, a term so overused, maligned and mangled it ceases to have meaning in 2017. Beyond the categorization, though, Katz has spun humanist tales in which normal people talk, fight, love, forget and do it all again the next day. (See: “Cold Weather,” “Land Ho!”).

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But until “Gemini,” Katz’s filmography has lacked a certain spunk and tenacity. He’s always known where to put the camera, how to guide a story from point A to point B, how to direct actors. Minimalism was his default.

“Gemini” strives to be something different — something more ambitious, more potent. The results vary, as will your mileage. But the thing to remember about swinging and missing is that you still swung. Katz is putting himself in the game, and more often than not, he connects.

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Laura Dern Shares On-Set Photo From ‘Big Little Lies’: ‘Madeline and Renata Are Back’ (Photo)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The queens are back!

Laura Dern shared the official first-look photo of the second season of “Big Little Lies” on Monday, taking to Instagram to post a photo of her character, Renata, sitting with Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline.

The two women are sitting at an outdoor table at the Seaside Coffee Shop. Dern captioned the image with, “Madeline and Renata are back.”

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Will the two actually remain cordial after setting aside their differences at the end of last season to help Celeste (played by Nicole Kidman)? Or will something trigger their relationship to fall apart again? From the looks of Dern’s photo, all is well in Monterey, California.

Nicole Kidman, Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Dern, Zoë Kravitz and Adam Scott all have been announced to return for the second season of the hit HBO series. They will also be joined by series newcomer Meryl Streep.

Also Read: ‘Big Little Lies’: Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz to Return for Season 2

The second outing, like the first, be written and executive produced by David E. Kelley and will be based, in part, on a story by Liane Moriarty. Andrea Arnold has signed on to direct all seven installments, stepping in for Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée.

The first season was a breakout hit for HBO, bringing the premium cable network 16 Emmy nominations and eight wins, effectively sweeping the Limited Series categories in September. The drama also proved to be a big winner at the Golden Globes, taking home four wins, including a supporting actress award for Dern.

See Dern’s Instagram post below.

Madeline and Renata are back. #BLL2

A post shared by @ lauradern on

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Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley will all be back for more Big Little Lies

Read on: The A.V. Club.

Variety has confirmed that most of the (non-murdered) cast of HBO’s limited series sensation Big Little Lies will return when it comes back later this year. The network announced today that Zoë Kravitz, Shailene Woodley, and Laura Dern will all be back for the show’s second season, which will deal in large part with…

Read more…

‘Big Little Lies’: Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz to Return for Season 2

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz are headed back to Monterey.

HBO announced on Friday that the three actresses would return to “Big Little Lies” for the drama’s second season, joining stars and executive producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. They will also be joined by series newcomer Meryl Streep.

The second outing, like the first, be written and executive produced by David E. Kelley and will be based, in part, on a story by Liane Moriarty. Andrea Arnold has signed on to direct all seven installments, stepping in for Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée.

Also Read: Meryl Streep Joins ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2

In addition to Kelly, Arnold, Witherspoon and Kidman, executive producers on the series also include Bruna Papandrea, Vallée, Nathan Ross and Gregg Fienberg.

The first season was a breakout hit for HBO, bringing the premium cable network 16 Emmy nominations and eight wins, effectively sweeping the Limited Series categories in September.

The drama also proved to be a big winner at the Golden Globes, taking home four wins, including a supporting actress award for Dern.

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