‘Captive State’ Film Review: Space Invaders Occupy Earth Without the Benefit of a Decent Script

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If near-future science fiction has taught us anything, it’s that humanity is irremediably doomed; either we succumb to rapacious technology or natural disasters of our own making, or an invasion by foes beyond our atmosphere wipes us out or enslaves us. Rupert Wyatt’s “Captive State” adheres to the latter variant but shows no intention of providing entertainment, just an unsatisfying potluck of quasi-relevant, frustration-inducing ideas.

Nine years after first contact, Earth’s governments have surrendered power to the alien overlords, whose spiny-looking leader is known as The Legislator. These creatures are benevolent in the way that a dictator is good to anyone: They’ve delivered stability in exchange for oppression. Up-close, the extraterrestrial enemies read as a crossbreed between a hairy tarantula and a lychee (yes, the tropical Asian fruit).

In response, the unimaginatively named insurgent group Phoenix has emerged and consistently carried out attacks on the “closed zones,” underground areas from which the villains run their resource-draining operation. That’s as much as can be gathered with certainty from the screenplay by Wyatt and Erica Beeney (“The Battle of Shaker Heights”). There may well be written text out there that explains the intricacies of the “Captive State” mythology, but none of it makes it onto the screen.

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John Goodman, in a phoned-in chore of a performance similar to others he’s cranked out with ease over the years, plays serious detective William Mulligan, the man tasked with stopping the Chicago cell of the humanist troublemakers. Together with Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) as teen rebel Gabriel Drummond, mourning his heroic brother, Goodman functions as the movie’s weak emotional anchor among plenty of even more thinly developed earthlings.

A stilted argument serves as Jonathan Majors’ most noteworthy contribution; Majors is a great actor elsewhere, who’ll get his time in the sun later this year when Sundance hit “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” arrives in theaters. Meanwhile, a wasted Vera Farmiga gets three scenes as a book-smart prostitute, while KiKi Layne (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. That concludes the list of folks with even a shred of narrative weight.

Also Read: Director Rupert Wyatt Exits Channing Tatum’s Troubled ‘Gambit’ Movie

Even after a full hour of tediously dry yet flagrant setup, the essential points of the film’s premise remain devoid of clarity. Make no mistake, just because a slew of nameless characters are introduced by the minute as if by revolving door, it doesn’t mean the plot gets any more enticing. People walk in and out of frame at such pace, one can only hope they are all wearing pedometers to register their futile efforts to rescue us not from destruction but boredom. Thrills are few, and they are all in the trailer.

It’s almost impressive the level of insufferable dourness that “Captive State” achieves, both in form and tone. Whatever existential conundrum or socio-political concern it pretends to be compelled by dissolves into a pool of convoluted sequences that pull our attention from the message (whatever that might be) in order to try to figure who is who and what is going on from one cut to the next. A grounded espionage thriller with otherworldly antagonists sounds truly gripping, but this isn’t it.

Wyatt could possibly be making a point about solidarity in the face of a common adversary, or how a committed few can enact change, or maybe even making connections with the current state of affairs, but if that’s the case, it’s all obscured behind dry speeches and mundane filmmaking. Its urban landscapes and washed-out colors do little to add aesthetic singularity or visual allure, although they do fit right in with the lo-fi approach. What’s carried over from other space-invaders chronicles are the primitive sounds that make up their foreign language and a score that reuses eerie audio cues that immediately ring of outer space.

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Delving into the purposeless particularities of this self-important snoozer could require an elaborate dissertation. That’s far beyond the attention it warrants. Still, some rather nonsensical quirks of note include the grotesque bugs implanted on mankind to track our every mode — A commentary on cell phones? Who knows. — a flammable and transparent organic substance that works in mysterious ways, and the curious notion that aliens hate how humans smell.

Following a major operation during a “unity rally,” where American leaders welcome an alien dignitary, a ridiculous brawl erupts that demonstrates that the movie couldn’t care less about its own rules. These hyper-intelligent alien entities, which we’ve earlier seen pulverize human bodies into bloody dust within seconds, are somehow defeated with a fire extinguisher and a quick strangulation session. Turns out they are no stronger than a regular henchman. (Fun fact: They also look like lychees on the inside.)

Lacking poignancy at every level, what could have been a moderately exciting, if unoriginal, occupation thriller instead becomes a muddled and dispirited disappointment from the director who once earned high praise for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”



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Third ‘Annabelle’ Film Scores Creepy Title ‘Annabelle Comes Home’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The third movie in the “Annabelle” franchise has been titled “Annabelle Comes Home,” New Line Cinema announced Friday.

The horror film will hit theaters on June 28 of this year. Gary Dauberman — who will be making his directorial debut — wrote the screenplay and co-wrote the story with horror guru James Wan. Peter Safran and Wan are producing.

The film stars Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The latter two are reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren from the “Conjuring” franchise.

Also Read: ‘Conjuring’ Universe Surpasses $1 Billion at Global Box Office

“Annabelle Comes Home” will follow Ed and Lorraine Warren, who hope to end further damage the haunted doll has created by moving her back to their artifact room in their own home. However, doll unlocks the evil spirits in the house, and she sets her sights on a new target: the Warren’s 10-year-old daughter.

This will be the sixth installment in the “Conjuring” franchise, which also include “The Conjuring,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Annabelle,” “Annabelle: Creation” and “The Nun.” Together, all the films have earned more than $500 million at the domestic box office.

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The studio is also in active development on “The Conjuring 3” and “The Crooked Man,” the latter of which is also drawn on a character appearing in “The Conjuring 2.”

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‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Movie: Everything We Know So Far About ‘Newark’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The planned prequel film to “The Sopranos” might not be “Star Wars: Episode IX,” but many of the details for this highly-anticipated film have been almost as secretive.

At the very least though, it has a potential working title: “Newark.” This is a project that boasts “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and an already impressive cast.

Originally titled “The Many Saints of Newark,” New Line Cinema is planning to release the film on Sept. 25, 2020. Here’s what else we know:

Also Read: ‘Sopranos’ Prequel Gets Fall 2020 Release and Working Title ‘Newark’

Firstly, Chase wrote the film with Lawrence Konner, a staff writer on “The Sopranos” who received the sole writing credit on three individual episodes. They are also producing the film.

Alan Taylor is directing “Newark.” He won an Emmy in 2007 for directing the Season 6 episode “Kennedy and Heidi.” More recently, Taylor has been behind some of the stand-out episodes of “Game of Thrones,” including “Beyond the Wall,” which was nominated for an Emmy in the show’s the seventh season.

As for the cast, Alessandro Nivola is starring alongside Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Ray Liotta, John Magaro, Billy Magnussen and Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late James Gandolfini, who is portraying a young Tony Soprano.

Nivola, known for films such as “American Hustle,” “A Most Violent Year” and “Selma,” will play Richard “Dickie” Moltisanti. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Moltisanti loomed heavily over the arc of “The Sopranos,” but in name only.

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Dickie was Carmela Soprano’s cousin, a Vietnam veteran and a foot soldier in the Soprano crew. He was killed when Christopher was very young, and we know of his past because Tony would frequently show his protective, paternal instincts for Christopher and shared anecdotes with him about Christopher’s late father.

He was always a “stand up guy,” Tony would say. And the show even devoted an entire episode arc in which Tony helps Chrissy avenge his father’s death. As a way of slowly nudging Chrissy up the family hierarchy, Tony tells Chrissy his father’s killer was a recently retired detective, and he then delivers the presumed killer for Chrissy to interrogate him.

The initial title, “The Many Saints of Newark,” was also fitting as “Moltisanti” literally means “many saints” in Italian.

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The film is set in Newark in the 1960s when around the time of the Newark riots. Dubbed “The Long Hot Summer of 1967,” the Newark riots were one of 159 race riots that swept the country that year. These riots ignited when Newark Police officers arrested and beat an African American taxi driver. It sparked four days of looting, violence and property destruction in which 26 people died and hundreds more were injured.

“The Sopranos” show flashed back to this time the “Down Neck” episode when Tony reflected on a point in his youth when Johnny Boy Soprano and a young Uncle Junior still ran the streets.

Oddly in this flashback, Tony is only a kid, whereas Michael Gandolfini (who plays Christopher Multisanti) is a young adult, so there’s the possibility that the film ends up jumping beyond the 1960s, possibly to when Dickie is killed.

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“The Sopranos” was a groundbreaking show for the ways in which it touched on themes of addiction, depression and race. Many of the mobsters on “The Sopranos” showed their racist sides and spoke fondly of the days prior to the Civil Rights era. Exploring their origins in this period will show how their personalities and prejudices became what they were in the HBO series.

As with any David Chase property, whether it’s “The Sopranos” or his ’60s rock film “Not Fade Away” (which also starred John Magaro), you can bet that “Newark” will be far more than just your average period piece.

The working title “Sopranos” prequel “Newark” opens Sept. 25, 2020.

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Ray Liotta in Talks to Join ‘Sopranos’ Prequel Film ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ray Liotta is in negotiations to star in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the “Sopranos” prequel film being set up at New Line, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

No details about Liotta’s character were revealed, but he joins a cast that includes Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, Jon Bernthal and James Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini, who is portraying a young Tony Soprano in the film.

Alan Taylor is directing the project based on a script by “Sopranos” creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner. Chase and Konner will also produce the prequel film. Nicole Lambert, on behalf of Chase Films, and Marcus Viscidi are executive producing.

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“The Many Saints of Newark” is set in the 1960s during the Newark riots, five days of violence in the New Jersey city sparked by the beating of a black man by white police officers. It was especially lethal among African American and Italian American gangsters involved in the fighting — 26 people died and more than 700 people were injured during the riot.

Liotta continues a tradition of actors from Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” appearing on “The Sopranos”: Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli and Frank Vincent, also appeared at various times on “The Sopranos.”

Also Read: Ray Liotta Joins ‘The Simpsons’ Family as Moe’s Dad

Liotta recently starred in the NBC series “Shades of Blue” opposite Jennifer Lopez, and he’s next set to star in an untitled film from Noah Baumbach alongside Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern. He’ll also appear in “El Tonto,” a comedy that’s the directorial debut of “It’s Always Sunny” star Charlie Day.

Liotta is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.

Deadline was first to report.

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‘Fast & Furious 9’ Moves Back a Month for Summer 2020 Faceoff With ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s the battle of the big-studio franchises! Universal announced on Friday that it had moved the release of the ninth “Fast & Furious” movie from April 10, 2020, to May 22, 2020.

That puts it smack up against Warner Bros.’ pricey monster mashup, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” as well as Paramount’s kiddie-skewing latest “The SpongeBob Movie.”

Justin Lin is attached to direct the ninth (and tenth) installment in the fast-moving franchise, with Jordana Brewster, a.k.a. Mia Toretto, also returning to the series opposite her onscreen brother (Vin Diesel). Mia was last seen in “Furious 7,” retiring from the family business to start a family with Brian O’Connor, played by the late Paul Walker.

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The new “Furious” squares off against another pricey studio franchise: “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the fourth installment of the Legendary and Warner Bros. cinematic universe, which Adam Wingard will direct.

Demian Bichir, Alexander Skarsgard and Brian Tyree Henry have signed on to star in the new film, which follows this May’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” with Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown.

“Godzilla” brought in $529 million globally after it was released in 2014. “Kong: Skull Island” was released March 10, 2017, and grossed more than $565 million worldwide.

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Meanwhile, the eight “Fast & Furious” films have collectively grossed more than $5 billion worldwide. “Hobbs & Shaw,” a spinoff film from director David Leitch starring series regulars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, drives into theaters on Aug. 2.

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Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga woke up this mornin’, joined the Sopranos prequel

Read on: The A.V. Club.

According to Variety, Jon Bernthal from The Punisher and Vera Farmiga from the Conjuring movies have joined Alessandro Nivola and whoever will play kid Tony in The Many Saints Of Newark, New Line’s Sopranos prequel movie. The film revolves around the g…

Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga to Join ‘Sopranos’ Prequel ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga are in final negotiations to join the cast of the prequel to “The Sopranos,” with the working title “The Many Saints of Newark,” an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Bernthal and Farmiga join the cast opposite Alessandro Nivola, who is playing Dickie Moltisanti in the feature film. Both Bernthal and Farmiga’s character details are under wraps.

“The Many Saints of Newark” is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 1960s, when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and when among the gangsters of each group, it became especially lethal. While other plot details are vague, the film is expected to include appearances from several key characters from “The Sopranos.”

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“The Sopranos” series creator David Chase co-wrote the script with Lawrence Konner. Alan Taylor (“Thor: The Dark World,” “Game of Thrones”) is directing the film. Chase and Konner will also produce. Nicole Lambert on behalf of Chase Films and Marcus Viscidi are executive producing.

Farmiga recently wrapped production on Ava DuVernay’s Netflix limited series, “Central Park Five,” and she’ll next be seen in “Godzilla: King of Monsters” and “Captive State.” She’s repped by CAA, Authentic Talent, ID and Peikoff Mahan

Bernthal’s upcoming projects include James Mangold’s untitled Ford vs Ferrari film and he is about to premiere in the second season of “The Punisher.” He is represented by WME, Attorney David Weber and Narrative PR.

Variety was first to report.

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Vera Farmiga & Jon Bernthal Join New Line’s ‘Sopranos’ Prequel

Read on: Deadline.

Vera Farmiga and Jon Bernthal are in final negotiations for New Line’s The Sopranos prequel feature The Many Saints of Newark, which is the working title. They join Alessandro Nivola in the ensemble drama.
Farmiga and Bernthal’s roles are being k…

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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Through ‘The Front Runner,’ Hugh Jackman Gets To Know Elusive Politician Gary Hart

Read on: Deadline.

Since hanging up his claws as Wolverine in spectacular fashion with Logan, Hugh Jackman has been exploring. He returned to his first love, musical theatre, last year for the blockbusting The Greatest Showman, and now tackles perhaps the meatiest role o…

‘The Front Runner’ Film Review: Hugh Jackman Is Gary Hart in Jason Reitman’s Enjoyable, Slight Political Saga

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

To dramatize the scandal-ridden ups and downs of the current presidential administration is to consider all manner of genres: Python-esque satire, journalism drama, social-issue tragedy, gilded ’80s-style sex thriller, even dystopian mind-screw. Is it even possible to tell the story of a rise and fall like Gary Hart’s — smart politician felled by a combination of personal arrogance and journalistically exploited national prurience — without the whole thing seeming morally quaint, like storybook time during a home invasion?

The answer is no, albeit an entertaining no, if the example is Jason Reitman’s “The Front Runner,” his self-consciously on-point, briskly enjoyable version of the three weeks in 1988 that took the Colorado senator from shoo-in for the Democratic presidential nomination to ousted cautionary tale after allegations surfaced regarding his extramarital affair with Donna Rice. The film’s assets are like an attractive party platform for discerning moviegoers: wonderful actors (Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons), crisp dialogue, and agreeable suspense regarding its thriller elements and emotional hand-wringing.

So why does the overall package, adapted from political reporter Matt Bai’s non-fiction book “All The Truth Is Out,” stop short of feeling like a necessary slice of turning-point history, and more like something you think “nice job” about? Perhaps because in giving the jump-around view — introducing us to not just Hart (Jackman) and family, but campaign staff, and reporters from a handful of newspapers — the effect is of a scandal skimmed, rather than explored.

Watch Video: ‘The Front Runner’ Trailer: Hugh Jackman Faces Political Scandal as Gary Hart

Opening with the 1984 campaign that first gave voters a taste of Hart’s fiery idealism (“the world changes when young people give a damn”), Reitman simultaneously promises an Altman-like tapestry, offering a focus-shifting, layered-sound long shot that dips in on various wisecracking Hart staffers at the Democratic convention that year. When we pick up the story four years later, and Hart’s primary season bid is stronger and more strongly covered, the tension inside the campaign between Hart and his manager, Bill Dixon (Simmons), is between an intellectual candidate who doesn’t understand why hair, personality, and barbecues are important, and an exasperated handler who knows fully well that great ideas aren’t enough anymore in the TV age.

Hart, whose relationship with his smart wife Lee (Farmiga) has an air of professional warmth, is comfortable trading barbs and hashing out policy and high-minded ideas with the press; he even gives one feature Washington Post reporter (Mamoudou Athie, “Patti Cake$”) a Tolstoy novel. But when Miami Herald reporter Thomas Fiedler (Steve Zissis, “Togetherness”) receives a tip about possible Hart infidelity, he ignores decades of unwritten Fourth Estate courtesy about the private lives of public figures — what kept Kennedy’s womanizing, among countless others’, out of the papers — and stakes out Hart’s DC home. The resulting expose of clandestine activity put character front and center, controversially and irrevocably.

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The movie’s DNA is a mix of “The Candidate” and “All the President’s Men,” as evidenced by the nostalgic grain in Eric Steelberg’s cinematography, and editor Stefan Grube’s focus on performance rhythms over story flash. But those earlier bellwether films had sturdier, more focused points of view. (In each case, they belonged to Robert Redford’s learning-on-the-job character.) “The Front Runner” is entirely theme-driven, and wants to touch on everything about the Hart story: reporter-editor huddles about press responsibility (at two different papers, no less, including Alfred Molina as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee), inside-campaign strategies to fight tabloidization (well-acted by the young supporting cast), and a marriage’s fractures (in which Farmiga’s reactions are expectedly powerful). Yet what gets lost in Reitman’s efficient patchworking is an abiding dimensionality.

It leaves some strange gaps amidst the Greek chorus of witty exchanges and pressurized confabs, amusingly delivered by Chris Coy (“The Deuce”), Alex Karpovsky (“Girls”), and Josh Brener (“Silicon Valley”) as the core of Hart’s crew. On the one hand, there’s a welcome female-centric subplot in which young campaign scheduler Irene (Molly Ephraim, “Last Man Standing”) and a scared Rice (nicely turned by Sara Paxton, “Murder in the First”) come to terms with how society’s retrograde view of women defines their roles at that moment: appointed babysitter and assumed floozie, respectively. But why, then, does the portrayal of Hart — whose ego is magnetically captured by Jackman — stop at the door to that brownstone?

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Bai, who’s credited as co-screenwriter with Jay Carson (“House of Cards”) and Reitman, famously left the question of confirmed marital infidelity out of his book, too. But by the time “The Front Runner” draws understandably time-stopping suspense out of the galvanizing press conference in which Hart is asked about it point-blank, the movie’s central figure lives for us in some weird limbo between lead character and feature player. It’s hard to tell if we’re supposed to bemoan the question, want it, cringe at it, and conversely, whether Hart should answer it, decry it, etc, etc.

Maybe that’s the point, to leave us confused as to whether the new era of the personal in politics is a good thing or a bad thing. But that doesn’t necessarily help illuminate a story that, while momentous for our electoral future, was ultimately lived by people and not by barbed mouthpieces.



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Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga To Reprise ‘Conjuring’ Roles As The Warrens In Third ‘Annabelle’ Movie

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: For the first time in The Conjuring universe, the Ed and Lorraine Warren characters will appear in one of the film series’ spinoff titles, Gary Dauberman’s untitled Annabelle project.
To date, the paranormal investigators have ap…

Here’s How ‘The Nun’ Connects to the Rest of the ‘Conjuring’ Universe

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Note: This post contains spoilers for “The Nun,” specifically its ending. Read on at your own risk!)

“The Nun” is technically a prequel in the ever-expanding “Conjuring” film universe, telling something of an origin story for Valak, the super-scary demon nun of “The Conjuring 2.” But thanks to various teases, we know Valak is tied a little more deeply into all the movies surrounding “The Conjuring” than it might have seemed before.

The events of “The Nun” take place in 1952 in a Romanian convent that sees some spooky things happen. A miracle-hunting priest, Father Burke (Demián Bichir), and a young nun, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) are sent to investigate the place. Spoiler alert: Valak’s there, and things get pretty scary.

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We know Valak shows up again in “The Conjuring 2,” and spends quite a while haunting paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) and her husband, Ed (Patrick Wilson). “The Nun” reveals how Valak made her way from Romania all the way to the U.S. to infect Lorraine’s life, and how she came to be embroiled in the haunting in Enfield, England in that movie.

Warning: spoilers beyond!

The end of “The Nun” features a direct tie to the first movie in the “Conjuring”-verse, “The Conjuring.” In that movie, the Warrens give a lecture at Massachusetts Western University, in which they show a video of an exorcism they participated in, and some of the strange effects they witnessed while it was happening. That lecture is attended by Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor), whose family is being haunted, and it convinces her to ask the Warrens for help.

The victim of the demonic possession in the video is a French-Canadian man named Maurice. As “The Nun” makes clear, that Maurice is Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), the young man who helped Father Burke and Sister Irene at the Romanian monastery. The end of “The Nun” reveals that Valak managed to possess Frenchie just before Sister Irene sealed the gateway to Hell in the catacombs beneath the monastery — and that allowed the demon to escape its confines out into the world. As the three leave the monastery once and for all, Frenchie reveals his real name.

Also Read: All the Ways ‘The First Purge’ Skewers America and Donald Trump

“The Nun” features a retcon of the scene from “The Conjuring,” with Bloquet replacing the original actor who played Maurice in the film the Warrens show during the lecture. On the video, Marcel can be seen whispering something to Lorraine, who reacts violently and in fear. That’s the moment, it seems, when Valak infests the Warrens’ lives.

In “The Conjuring 2,” we learn that Lorraine had been feeling the presence of Valak sort of vaguely for a while, but she encountered the demon in a major way during the Amityville case (which really happened, and has been adapted into a bunch of movies, beginning with “The Amityville Horror”) that’s shown at the beginning of the movie. It’s implied that Valak might have been responsible for Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdering his family in Amityville, and the further hauntings of the Lutz family that the Warrens investigated. When Lorraine encounters Valak, she sees a vision of Ed being impaled.

The Warrens later head to Enfield, England, to investigate another haunting, which Lorraine realizes is also the work of Valak. She manages to save Ed from Valak, who means to kill him (impaling him as in the vision Lorraine saw), and banish the demon back to hell.

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Valak also has a link to the “Annabelle” story, which is a spin-off of the first “Conjuring” movie. In “Annabelle: Creation,” which takes place in 1955, we learn how the doll came to be haunted when a group of orphans and the nun who looks after them move into the home of a dollmaker and his wife. The nun, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman), apparently spent some time at the monastery in Romania where Valak was imprisoned. She has a photo of herself with some of the nuns there — and in the background, steeped in shadow, Valak appears as well.

Though the Annabelle doll is also infested by a demon, which possesses a young girl named Janice (Talitha Bateman) and later murders her adopted parents (which happens at the beginning of “Annabelle”), that demon isn’t Valak. It’s probably a coincidence that Sister Charlotte came into close proximity of two murderous demons who would also be linked to the Warrens. Or, since the “Conjuring” movies often suggest as much, it could be divine intervention, since Charlotte manages to save several of the girls from the creature.

As of “The Conjuring 2,” it seems that Valak is gone, banished back to Hell. But the demon found its way out once before, and since it has so many links to portions of the “Conjuring” film universe, it seems possible that we haven’t seen the last of the demon nun.

“The Nun” is in theaters now.

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“The Conjuring” has led to spin-offs and sequels based on the experiences of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. But what actually “happened” and what was invented for the movies? Here’s a rundown of where real accounts and Hollywood screenwriting meet in “The Conjuring,” the “Annabelle” movies, and ‘The Nun.”

“The Conjuring” is based on a real reported haunting
The first film in the “Conjuring”-verse is mostly an actual, reported event, if you believe in that sort of thing. As demonstrated with photos during the end credits of the movie, the Perron family really did exist, and reported they were being attacked by some kind of entity. The Warrens did, in fact, investigate. Both Lorraine Warren and the Perron family signed off on the movie as well.

The Warrens really do have that museum of creepy things
The Warrens began their research in 1952 and decided to open the museum in the early 1980s, after their collection of haunted objects began to accumulate. The Warren Occult Museum is housed in the basement of the Warrens’ actual home in Monroe, Connecticut, and is full of haunted artifacts and images taken from their cases. It’s home to an organ that plays itself, a mirror that is said to summon spirits and a coffin owned by a “modern vampire.” To keep the evil at bay, a local priest comes once a month to bless everything on display.

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Annabelle is a real doll
The opening portion of “The Conjuring” deals with Annabelle, a doll possessed by a demon. The story about two nurses who wound up with a haunted doll is a real case the Warrens dealt with. Ed and Lorraine really did take the doll back with them to their museum and keep it in a glass case.

That’s not what Annabelle looks like
Among the liberties taken with bringing the Annabelle story to the screen, though, is changing the doll itself. The eerie American Girl porcelain look isn’t like the doll from the real case — instead, it was a big Raggedy Ann doll with red yarn hair and button eyes.

The exorcism in “The Conjuring” never happened
Although a lot of the elements of the haunting of the Perron are claimed to have happened by the people involved, the movie’s climactic possession and exorcism by Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) isn’t among them. In reality, Lorraine Warren has said her husband would never have tried to perform an exorcism since he wasn’t a priest.

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But Andrea Perron, one of the Perron children who was 11 at the time of the events in the movie, said she did see her mother Carolyn (played by Lily Taylor in the movie) possessed at one point. Andrea said she secretly watched a seance during the haunting and saw her mother speak a language she didn’t recognize in a different voice, before her chair levitated and Carolyn was thrown across the room.

“Annabelle” is not the true backstory of the doll
The first spinoff of “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle,” serves as an origin story for the creepy doll. But none of the stuff that happens to Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John Gordon (Ward Horton) has any documentation in reality — it was all created for the movie. The Warrens’ case with Annabelle starts in the hobby shop seen at the end of the film, where the doll was purchased by the mother of one of the nurses.

Annabelle might have a real victim, though
It wasn’t in any of the movies, but Annabelle might have a real victim. After it was in the Warren museum, though, it might have inflicted its evil on someone. According to the Warrens, a man came to the museum and banged on Annabelle’s case, mocking the doll until Ed Warren threw him out. Lorraine Warren claims the man’s girlfriend told him the pair were laughing about the doll afterward while riding away on his motorcycle — until he mysteriously lost control and crashed into a tree.

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“The Amityville Horror” is also based on a Warren case
Mentioned in “The Conjuring 2” is another haunting the Warrens worked on in Amityville, New York. In that case, the Lutz family was haunted after moving into the home in which Ronnie DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family the year before. Bits of the story of the haunting are part of the story of “The Conjuring 2,” and the case went on to inspire all of the movies in the various “Amityville Horror” franchises. (The Lutzes’ story is now known to be a hoax.)

It was also a hoax
The Amityville haunting story has been widely debunked. Ronnie DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, admitted the story was a hoax he and George Lutz dreamed up. Weber had hoped to use the haunting to get his client a new trial, and the Lutzes profited from the story’s widespread notoriety and fame.

“The Conjuring 2” is based on another real haunting
The Enfield Haunting is one of the most famous and best-documented supposed hauntings ever, and a lot of what’s seen in “The Conjuring 2” is part of the record of what’s actually supposed to have happened. For one thing, the recording of Janet Hodgson allegedly speaking in the voice of Bill Wilkins does exist in some form, as do images that allegedly show the children levitating. Police responding to calls from the family say they did see furniture move on its own, just like in the movie.

But there’s controversy surrounding it, too
The Hodgsons really did get caught faking evidence of the Enfield Haunting. Janet Hodgson said she faked a very small amount of the evidence in the case, claiming it was because so many people were investigating and sometimes spooky things wouldn’t happen on cue. And according to at least one investigator on the case, the Warrens’ involvement was much less than in the movie — supposedly they showed up “uninvited” and stayed only one day.

“The Crooked Man” is a real English nursery rhyme
And it’s distinctly less sinister than in “The Conjuring 2.” It was first recorded in the 1840s. The monster seen in the movie was actually just a manifestation of the demon antagonist Valak used to attack and scare the Hodgson family. But the Crooked Man is getting his own movie spinoff, and so is Valak, so expect some new backstory for “The Crooked Man” likely not based in any real hauntings or cases.

“Annabelle: Creation” is another Hollywood addition to the mythos
Since the movie “Annabelle” is a Hollywood creation and not the actual, true backstory of the real-life doll in the Warren museum, the same is true of “Annabelle: Creation.” The second movie is another prequel to “The Conjuring” that goes back even further in the doll’s life, to track where it first came from, but it’s pretty far removed from the Warrens’ cases at this point.

The Demon Nun Valak is a “real” demon… | 
The demonic nun that’s a major antagonist in “The Conjuring 2” is mostly an invention of director James Wan based on a conversation he had with Lorraine Warren about “a spectral entity that has haunted her in her house.” Valak, though, is based in demonic lore and mentioned in several books on demons from the 14th and 15th Century.

…but “The Nun” isn’t based on a true story | 

The story of Valak gets fleshed out in “The Nun” a bit, explaining how the demon haunted a convent in Romania and giving something of a reason for it appearing as a nun, but it’s all invented for the series and not based on real history or the Warrens’ cases. Valak is known as “The Defiler,” so turning positive religious imagery scary fits that description. The demon lore Valak is based on doesn’t say anything about appearing as a nun, though — it’s described as a cherub-looking child with wings and rides some kind of two-headed dragon. It is associated with serpents and snakes, though, something that makes it into the movie.

Does ‘The Nun’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Horror fans are delving back into the Conjuring Universe with “The Nun,” a movie that dials back into the past to explain one of the spookiest creatures to do battle with the Warrens.

“The Nun” is technically a prequel to “The Conjuring 2,” filling in some of the backstory of the demonic presence called Valak that Elizabeth Warren (Vera Farmiga) and her husband Ed (Patrick Wilson) face off against in that movie. Last year in “Annabelle: Creation,” which tells the story of possessed doll, we saw another hint of the backstory, about a convent in Romania that was terrorized by the demonic nun.

The movies in the “Conjuring” universe aren’t all necessarily related, but they are all linked. And like other film universes that have developed over the last few years, they often use post-credits scenes to tease upcoming films and other potential sequels and spin-offs. So should you expect to get even more freaked out by “The Nun” and sit through the credits to see a post-credits scene?

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The answer is no — lucky if you’re already a little squeamish (or need to get to the bathroom). While “The Nun” includes a scene at the end that directly connects it to the events depicted with the Warrens in “The Conjuring 2,” there’s nothing to wait for after the credits.

Even without a coda scene to hint at more movies, though, we already know the universe springing up around “The Conjuring” is going to get more crowded. Another monster-oriented spin-off movie is in the works based on the Crooked Man, a creature that appeared in “The Conjuring 2,” and there’s a third “Annabelle” movie on its way in 2019.

As for Valak, “The Nun” might be the end of the demonic nun’s stories, at least for now. The Warrens managed to condemn the demon back to Hell at the end of “The Conjuring 2,” so for the time being, at least, it’s defeated. Then again, we’re sure to see more movies in “The Conjuring” world in the future, and Valak may very well make an attempt at revenge on the Warrens — especially now that she has a backstory.

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What began as a modest haunted house story, inspired by the real-life paranormal investigations of controversial figures Ed and Lorraine Warren, has grown into one of the most lucrative horror franchises in years. “The Conjuring” and its se…

‘The Front Runner’ Trailer: Hugh Jackman Faces Political Scandal as Gary Hart (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Hugh Jackman faces scandal in the first trailer for “The Front Runner,” a fact-based political thriller directed by Jason Reitman, where stars as former 1988 Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart.

Based on the book “All the Truth Is Out” by political journalist Matt Bai, the film chronicles the Colorado senator’s rise — where he was at one point considered the front-runner to win the Democratic nominee in the 1988 presidential election — and fall that was due to his extramarital affair with Donna Rice, which is shown at the end of the trailer, which was ultimately the end of his campaign.

“Having grown up wandering around the Columbia lot as a kid, it is a particular thrill to bring ‘The Front Runner’ back home to the first studio I can remember,” Reitman said in a statement. “I cannot wait for movie-goers to see Hugh’s humanist transformation into one of the more complicated political figures of our time.”

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Vera Farmiga and J.K. Simmons will also star in the film as Hart’s wife, Lee Hart, and Hart’s campaign adviser Bill Dixon. Sara Paxton will take on the role of Rice.

Bai and Reitman co-wrote the film with former Hillary Clinton press secretary Jay Carson. Reitman and Helen Estabrook produced the film through their Right of Way Films banner in partnership with BRON Studios’ Aaron Gilbert, who are backed by Creative Wealth Media.

The film starts its multi-tiered rollout on Nov. 7.

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‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Crushes Hall H With New Comic-Con Trailer (Video)

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The monsters are going to end the world in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” if the sick new trailer Warner Bros. showed off at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 is any indication.

First and foremost, the new trailer showed that Godzilla won’t be the only giant creature humanity has to deal with when the movie drops next year. It also looks like creatures such as Mothra and King Ghidorah will be in play as well.

You can watch the trailer above.

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The video kicks off with narration from Vera Farmiga, who plays Dr. Emma Russell, and claims that humanity is an infection that has attacked the Earth. The planet’s response to that infection: the Titans, giant monsters like Godzilla.

It seems in Dr. Russell’s estimation, the only way to save the world is to destroy it — so she and others are looking for the Titans to wake them up and get them to save the world. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for Millie Bobbie Brown’s character, Madison Russell, as well as the entire rest of humanity. But the trailer had no shortage of moments in which huge creatures decimate whole cities and rise up out of volcanoes.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” hits theaters on May 31, 2019.

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“Long live the king” is said in the new trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters which can pretty much explain what is in store for in the forthcoming sequel of the iconic monster.
The panel included stars Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga…

Michael K. Williams and Vera Farmiga join Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five series

Read on: The A.V. Club.

Last year, we reported that Ava DuVernay was developing a Netflix miniseries about the “Central Park Five,” a group of five teenagers who were wrongfully accused—and even more wrongfully convicted—of raping a woman in New York’s Central Park in the lat…

Michael K Williams, John Leguizamo to Star in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix Limited Series ‘Central Park 5’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ava DuVernay’s “Central Park 5” has cast three of its leads. The upcoming Netflix limited series will star Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga and John Leguizamo, a person with knowledge of the casting tells TheWrap.

The Academy Award-nominated director will executive produce, write and direct the four-episode narrative series, which is slated for a 2019 release on the streaming service.

Based on a true story, “Central Park 5” will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The episodes will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. The series will span from the spring of 1989, when each were first questioned about the incident, to 2014 when they were exonerated and a settlement was reached with the city of New York.

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Williams (“The Wire,” “The Night Of”) will play Bobby McCray, devoted father of accused teen Antron McCray. Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “Bates Motel”) will portray Elizabeth Lederer, the Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and lead prosecutor on the case. Leguizamo (“Bloodline,” “John Wick”) has been cast as Raymond Santana Sr., the father of accused teen Raymond Santana Jr.

Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King will also executive produce for Participant Media, along with Oprah Winfrey under her Harpo Films banner, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh from Tribeca Productions.

“Central Park 5” will premiere globally on Netflix in 2019.

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