‘Replicas’ Film Review: Keanu Reeves’ Robo-Clone Thriller Flirts With Unintentional Laughs

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Keanu Reeves plays a doctor at an experimental research facility in the amusingly unconvincing “Replicas,” which is set in a Puerto Rico that looks like it has sustained no damage at all from Hurricane Maria, a visual decision that suits the totally unrealistic movie.

Reeves’ Will Foster is first seen waiting for a donated brain that is being brought to him via helicopter, and director Jeffrey Nachmanoff (“Traitor”) cross-cuts between Reeves anxiously staring at his watch and the brain being rushed into the facility. During an operation to place this brain into a robot body, Dr. Foster is asked, “Do you concur?” by a colleague and Reeves cries, “I concur!” in that ineffably stilted but enthusiastic Keanu-ish way.

Dr. Foster plays Dr. Frankenstein with this robot, urging it to relax once its brain has been turned on; the robot freaks out and tears itself apart, but nevertheless, Foster is encouraged. “This one spoke!” he cries optimistically before going home to his picture-perfect blonde wife Mona (Alice Eve) and their three rambunctious children. Mona has been given one line of dialogue here about being a doctor, but she looks and behaves like a personal trainer.

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It’s obvious that this “fill-in-the-blank” family is doomed from the moment they get in a car, even before it starts to rain and they have a near-miss collision with another car and then a tree quickly smashes through their windshield. This sequence of events is so rushed and careless that when Foster arranges the corpses of his family very neatly out on a road, it feels like he is just raking some leaves in his backyard.

Foster calls his work colleague and friend Ed (Thomas Middleditch), and when Ed sees the dead bodies he asks, “What the hell happened, man?” in such an un-excited, deadpan stoner way that it seems like the filmmakers might have been going for an intentional laugh here at the expense of their would-be narrative.

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In no time at all, Reeves’ Foster is taking the corpses home and urging Ed to help him clone them. “I’m not a freakin’ genie here,” Ed says in his usual detached way while Reeves cries things like, “Boot the mapping sequence in!” and speaks of the “neurofibrillary tangles” of memory. Foster sits down and processes the memories of his children and wife in a virtual-reality setting, but all we see are red veins flowing along while we hear innocuous meal-time-like shouts and murmurs.

Foster feigns illness to stay at home and work on his clone family, even though his boss Jones (John Ortiz) is demanding results for their robot-brain project. “I have to watch the pods!” Foster exclaims on the phone to Ed, just one of many line readings from Reeves that might earn an unintentional laugh from those who enjoy unintentional laughs.

The plotting of “Replicas” is so chaotic and overstuffed that a subplot where Foster continues text-message conversations for his dead children is swiftly introduced and then dropped, even though it has potential as an idea. The clone family is kept in water, and Ed warns Foster that they will age rapidly if they are not released soon. When clone Mona wakes up and things seem fine with her, Ed mutters, “We’re talkin’ Nobel Prize, right?” in his usual non-committed style.

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There are two instances in “Replicas” when a needle is plunged directly into an eye on screen, and this ocular violence seems wholly unnecessary and nasty given the “we couldn’t care less” vibe of all the other scenes. When Jones is turned into a villain who wants to monetize Foster’s findings, his dialogue is so ineptly would-be suave that it comes close to sounding surreal.

The chief distinction of “Replicas” is how detached it often is from the expected sense of words and images. There is a single shot of Reeves bolting down a hallway of his home in half-silhouette that carries a sense of urgency, and this shot sticks out because practically every other shot in the movie is so perfunctory.

Towards the end of “Replicas,” it is revealed that Foster deleted one of his three children out of scientific necessity, but this doesn’t seem to matter to anyone as much as the consistently silly delivery of lines like “Upload my neural map!” The neural map of “Replicas” is so lacking in meaningful activity that it might have been made by robots.

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Thomas Middleditch tries to turn an L.A. Kings game into a Comedy Bang! Bang! episode

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Professional sports are fine, if you like camaraderie and scoring points and stuff, but the average athletic event is sorely missing the dangerous weirdos and random small business owners that pop up every week on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast. Luckil…

Godzilla Is Here to Make Humans His Pets in New ‘King of Monsters’ Trailer (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The new trailer for “Godzilla: King of Monsters” shows Thomas Middleditch explaining to a congressional committee what’s at stake with the “Titans” ravaging the Earth. They have to determine which ones are here on the planet to protect us, and which are here to threaten humanity.

“So you’d want to make Godzilla our pet,” a senator asks in the trailer. “No, we would be his,” Ken Watanabe’s character solemnly responds.

Michael Dougherty’s film, a sequel to the 2014 “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island” as part of a planned cinematic MonsterVerse from Warner Bros. and Legendary, locks all the world’s kaiju in a battle with Godzilla for global dominance. In the film and as seen in the new trailer, he’ll collide with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

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And the new trailer did not disappoint in teasing the film’s many massive battles, with some stunning, sweeping special effects on display.

“King of Monsters” also boasts an impressive cast: Millie Bobby Brown leads Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, Thomas Middleditch, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ziyi Zhang, Anthony Ramos and Charles Dance. Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing.

The next entry in the MonsterVerse will see Godzilla take on King Kong in “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which Adam Wingard is directing for a planned 2020 release. Alexander Skarsgard, Brian Tyree Henry, Eiza Gonzalez, Julian Dennison and Demian Bichir are already among the film’s cast.

Legendary Entertainment is releasing the film this summer on May 31, 2019 in 3-D and 2-D and on select IMAX screens. Watch the new look above.

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Bill Gates Praises HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley:’ ‘Like All Great Parodies It Captures a Lot of Truths’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

HBO’s satirical comedy “Silicon Valley” is known for its lampooning of the Northern California tech bubble and frequently drawing the ire of those in the industry. But the show can count one of the tech industry’s founding fathers as a fan.

“If you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series ‘Silicon Valley,’” wrote Microsoft founder Bill Gates in a blog post on Monday. “The show is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths.”

Gates said he helped consult with “Silicon Valley” writers for its most recent fifth season — the show has routinely sought input from industry players, including former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo — and argued that the show is pretty accurate, in both the industry’s triumphs and mistakes. “I have friends in Silicon Valley who refuse to watch the show because they think it’s just making fun of them. I always tell them: ‘You really should watch it, because they don’t make any more fun of us than we deserve.’”

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He added that he sees a lot of himself in Thomas Middleditch’s Richard Hendrix, the founder and occasional CEO of Pied Piper, the fictional company at the center of the series. The series frequently pokes fun at “start-up culture,” where everyone is pitching the next new idea that is going to benefit the entire world, even if its just “Shazam for food.”

“Even a huge believer in technology like me has to laugh when some character talks about how they’re going to change the world with an app that tells you whether what you’re eating is a hot dog or not.”

But Gates has an unsurprising gripe about the way the large corporations are portrayed as mostly being inept. “But I also understand why the show focuses so much on Pied Piper and makes Hooli look so goofy. It’s more fun to root for the underdog.”

Gates will have a wait a bit longer for season 6, which may not be uploaded until 2020.

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Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes, Nick Offerman Audition for ‘Batgirl’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes and Nick Offerman were just a few of the actors who showed up for a mock audition for “Batgirl” on “Conan.”

In the spoof, Kristen Schaal was up first, bringing a baby with her into the audition.

“I hope that doesn’t mess with your emotions at all or make you feel like you have to hire me,” she said, adding, “I really need this job.”

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“This is my audition right here,” Swank says, holding up an Oscar, presumably from winning Best Actress both in 2000 for “Boys Don’t Cry” and in 2005 for “Million Dollar Baby.”

“Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch came in, wanting to audition for the role of the waiter in the diner. Jodie Foster also wanted to audition for the superhero movie, but seemed a little annoyed that Swank brought an Oscar with her.

Offerman then came in to read for the lead role, but when he was told that the producers were only looking at women for the role, he said, “oh, of course, this is the same bulls— I got on ‘Ocean’s 8.’ I bet Sandy Bullock gets this one, too!”

Lastly, Sykes popped in, asking, “How are you still making superhero movies? The world is on fire, the polar ice caps are the size of basketballs, Trump is putting babies in cages, and you’re making ‘Batgirl?’”

Also Read: Joss Whedon Steps Down as ‘Batgirl’ Director

But that didn’t stop her from gearing up and reading for the role.

In reality, screenwriter Christina Hodson was hired in April to write “Batgirl” for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Joss Whedon stepped down as director of “Batgirl” in February, saying in a statement at the time, “Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”

Watch the video above.

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‘Rampage’ Breakout Star Jason Liles Joins ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jason Liles, who most recently played the albino gorilla in Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage,” has been cast as one of several motion-capture actors playing Godzilla’s three-headed archenemy in Legendary and Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla: King of Monsters,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

King Ghidorah is a kaiju film monster that has golden-scaled wings and three heads. Liles plays the middle head, while Alan Maxson is the right head and Richard Dorton is the left head in the epic action-adventure film that pits Godzilla against some of the biggest monsters in pop culture history; additional mo-cap actors contribute to the body movement of the creature.

Michael Dougherty is directing from a screenplay he wrote with Zach Shields. Liles is joining the previously announced cast of Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, O’Shea Jackson, Sally Hawkins, Thomas Middleditch and Bradley Whitford.

Also Read: Thomas Middleditch Cast in ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’

Liles has starred in “Men in Black III” and “Death Note” as a stellar performance capture actor, entering the blockbuster arena alongside actors like Andy Serkis and Doug Jones. Liles will work with “Godzilla’s” Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Guillaume Rocheron.

Most recently, Liles portrayed the silverback albino gorilla in “Rampage,” a performance for which he was praised. The film has grossed $286.5 million worldwide.

Also Read: O’Shea Jackson, Jr. in Talks to Join ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’

“Godzilla: King of Monsters” will hit theaters on March 22, 2019.

Liles is represented by Jeff Witjas at the Agency for the Performing Arts and Integrated PR.

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Nantucket Film Festival Sets Noah Baumbach Tribute, Ben Stiller Improv Night

Read on: Deadline.

The Nantucket Film Festival, whose 23rd edition is set for June 20-25, has announced its 2018 honorees.
The Screenwriters Tribute will go to Noah Baumbach, the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award will go to Morgan Neville, and the New Voices in Screenwriting Award to recent Sundance alum Andrew Heckler.
Given the festival’s longtime emphasis on screenwriting, the Screenwriters Tribute is always a centerpiece. Baumbach’s night will be Saturday, June 23…

‘Silicon Valley’: Zach Woods on Tech Culture and the Time He Didn’t Recognize Elon Musk (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With the fifth season of “Silicon Valley” in full swing, it only felt right to have Zach Woods swing by TheWrap HQ once again — and we had a lot to ask him.

Woods has turned Jared Dunn —  the straight-laced financial guru of “Pied Piper” with a penchant for revealing the most shocking details about his character’s murky background — into a fan favorite. (Just last week, we find out Jared’s stepmom wouldn’t let him eat pizza as a kid because “Italians aren’t real white people.”) But does Woods, who spends his time pretending to be a budding tech exec, envy anything about real-life startup employees? Not really, it turns out.

We tackled plenty more with Woods, including:

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– Playing “F—, Marry, Kill” with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

–  Why “Hard Knocks” is one of his favorite HBO shows, even though he doesn’t give a damn about football

– Not recognizing Tesla and SpaceX head honcho Elon Musk when he first met him — and what perturbed the entrepreneur about “Silicon Valley’s” caricature of Silicon Valley.

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There’s plenty more, too, so check out the rest of our interview.

“Silicon Valley” airs on HBO on Sunday at 10 pm EST. The series was just renewed for its sixth season earlier this week.

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Thomas Middleditch Responds to Alex Jones’ “Beta Male” Criticism

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After the ‘Silicon Valley’ star graced The Hollywood Reporter cover alongside his castmates earlier this month, the actor jokingly counter-argued that he is an “alpha male” who goes to bed “eating a cheeseburger and shooting a gun.” read more

‘Silicon Valley’ Cast Talks Season Without T.J. Miller, #MeToo Influence

Read on: Variety.

“Silicon Valley’s” fifth season won’t just be the “most different season we’ve had so far,” as star Kumail Nanjiani teased, but will also address one of Hollywood’s biggest headlines — gender equality and the treatment of women. While Nanjiani said the show wouldn’t directly address the #MeToo movement, he told Variety at PaleyFest in Los Angeles […]

New trailer for season 5 of Silicon Valley eliminates the “no dog” policy

Read on: The A.V. Club.

This new trailer for season five of HBO’s Silicon Valley starts on a massive twist: The show has undergone a surprise time-jump, with Thomas Middleditch’s Richard Hendricks waking up from a four-year coma. It’s an unbelievably show-changing reveal that throws every ongoing storyline—not to mention the relationships…

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‘Silicon Valley’ Drops First Trailer for T.J. Miller-less Season 5 (Watch)

Read on: Variety.

“Silicon Valley” is back for season five, with the Pied Piper gang is once again butting heads with Hooli’s Gavin Belson. In the trailer for the new season, released Tuesday, Richard Hendricks, played by star Thomas Middleditch, wakes up in the hospital and sets out on a new journey for his tech company, hiring 50 new […]

‘Silicon Valley’ Star Thomas Middleditch Calls Aziz Ansari Accusation ‘Absurd,’ Doesn’t Defend TJ Miller

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch said that there’s a difference between sexual assault and “strange sex.”

“I thought the whole Aziz Ansari thing was kind of absurd,” he said, speaking with the A.V. Club. “Like, there’s a difference between assault and just kind of strange sex.”

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When asked whether the accusations against co-star T.J. Miller — who isn’t returning for Season 5 — were discussed on set at “Silicon Valley,” Middleditch said, “People who know him, sure, we chat about it.” But he also said he didn’t know enough about the situation to comment on it.

“Speaking as a guy, as a man, as a male human, it’s kind of scary, with this fervor that’s surrounding it, where an allegation can just pop up and then it’s really incumbent upon you to fervently defend your character,” he said. “I’m not gonna dive into what’s real or not. I’m just saying it’s a little bit scary.”

Middleditch added: “It is tricky, you know. It’s weird. It’s like we live in a world where currently the climate, let’s say, is where a j’accuse will really turn your world upside down.”

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Middleditch said that he hopes the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative don’t get “dismissed as leftist nonsense.”

He said that watching everyone comment on the movements during awards season is “tricky.”

“When everybody has something to say about it, it sometimes feels flippant, I suppose,” he said, adding that he worries some chime in beccause it’s a hot, popular topic. “So I want to make sure — which is a very cynical way of looking at it, I understand that — but I just want to make sure that all the movements that are really just and worthwhile aren’t sort of dismissed as leftist nonsense.”

Also Read: ‘SNL’: Everyone Is Very Uncomfortable Discussing Aziz Ansari and #MeToo (Video)

Miller was accused in December of sexually assaulting and punching a woman while they were at college together. He denied her accusations, saying in a statement with his wife that the accusations were meant to “discredit” them.

“We stand together in stating this is nothing more than an unfortunate resurgence of her lies designed to wreak havoc on two happily married people in the public eye,” the Millers’ statement read. “We stand together and will not allow this person to take advantage of a serious movement toward gender equality by allowing her to use this moment to muddy the water with an unrelated personal agenda.”

As for Ansari, an anonymous woman gave an account to Babe.net of a date in which she said the “Master of None” star repeatedly pressured her for oral sex and intercourse, and at several points ignored her “clear non-verbal cues.” She said she also told him at one point: “I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you.”

Also Read: Artie Lange Shreds Aziz Ansari and Louis CK Over Sexual Misconduct Claims

Ansari said in a statement that during the date, they took part in sexual activity that to him was by “all indications was completely consensual.”

“The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable,” his statement continued. “It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”

“Sillicon Valley” returns to HBO in March.

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Film Review: ‘Entanglement’

Read on: Variety.

It’s difficult for a film to be charming when it’s so busy being preposterous — although in the case of “Entanglement,” a distinct lack of energy and tonal control are also to blame. Incapable of striking a surefooted balance between character-drama gravity and romantic-comedy whimsicality, director Jason James’ sophomore feature (following 2013’s “That Burning Feeling”) […]

‘Silicon Valley’ Season 5: Trailer & Premiere Date For HBO’s Techie Comedy

Read on: Deadline.

HBO’s perennially Emmy-nominated comedy Silicon Valley will upload its fifth season starting at 10 PM Sunday, March 25. It will be the first without former regular T.J. Miller, who left the show in May.
Check out a new trailer below and first-look photo of the new season above.
The comedy looks at the modern-day epicenter of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. And as reflected in the trailer, the…

Patrick Stewart talks about his love for Thomas Middleditch

Read on: The A.V. Club.

Due to their shared appreciation of Shakespeare and improv, Patrick Stewart developed an unlikely friendship with Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch. The pair performed together as part of the Improvised Shakespeare Company in Chicago and routinely engage in celebrity Monopoly nights and Instagram flame wars. In…

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