Posts with «movies» label

Rebel Moon Part 2 review: A slow-mo sci-fi slog

Rebel Moon: Part 2 - The Scargiver is an empty feast. It's a relentless onslaught of explosions, sci-fi tropes and meaningless exposition that amounts to nothing. And yet somehow it's still better than the first film in Zack Snyder's wannabe sci-fi epic franchise for Netflix, Rebel Moon: Part 1 - A Child of Fire. (What do these titles really mean? Who cares.) 

With all of the dull table-setting complete, Snyder is able to let his true talents soar in Rebel Moon: Part 2 by delivering endless battles filled with slow-motion action and heroic poses. It looks cool, I just wish it added up to something. Anything.

Spoilers ahead for Rebel Moon: Part 2.

If you somehow missed the first Rebel Moon film, the basic setup is that it's Star Wars meets The Seven Samurai. Sofia Boutella stars as Kora, a former elite soldier of an evil empire who is hiding out in an all-too idyllic farming village, just planting and harvesting her days away. When a group of military baddies kills the chief of the village and starts threatening a young girl, Kora goes on a murdering spree (in defense!), leaving the community open to a retaliatory attack. 

She spends the first movie recruiting potential warriors to defend the village, including a fallen gladiator (Djimoun Hounsou) and a bad-ass swordswoman (Doona Bae). (Their names are Titus and Nemesis, respectively, but those don't really matter because the characters are paper thin.)

Full disclosure: I tried writing a review for the first Rebel Moon and just gave up in disgust. It was a shockingly boring epic, so much so that it took me several days to watch without falling asleep. By the end, I was only left with a feeling of dread, knowing that there was still another two hours of Rebel Moon ahead of me.

It's somewhat empty praise, but at least I didn't fall asleep during The Scargiver. Mostly, that's due to the film actually having a sense of momentum and a lot more action. You can turn off your brain and enjoy the pretty pictures, much like you could for Snyder's Sucker Punch, Justice League and Watchmen adaptation. He's more a stylist than a natural storyteller, but occasionally Snyder's visuals, such as a baffling montage of our heroes harvesting wheat, can be almost poetic.


It's just a shame that I didn't care much about the film's characters or any aspect of its story. James Gunn's Guardian's of the Galaxy trilogy made us fall in love with a band of misfits and screwups, with storylines that directly led to their personal and emotional growth. The crew in Rebel Moon, instead, feel like cardboard cutouts from better movies, and the overall plot feels forced (there's even setup for another film by the end). 

Hounsou tries to sell the pathos of Titus with his eyes, but he can only do so much. And while Bae's warrior woman exudes cool (and has a very compelling flashback), she's mostly wasted when the action really heats up. Then there's Jimmy, a robot voiced by Anthony Hopkins, who is briefly introduced in the first film and pops up for a few minutes here to kick butt. Why? It doesn't matter. Somehow that character is also important enough to serve as the narrator for both Rebel Moon films (but really it seems Snyder just wanted Hopkins' voice adding gravitas).

Perhaps the only real saving grace for Rebel Moon: Part 2, much like the first film, is Ed Skrein as the villainous Atticus Noble. As a sadistic baddie, he's really nothing new, but Skrein's heightened scenery chomping makes the character interesting to watch. Where Darth Vader exudes a calm sense of dread, Skrein's Noble is entertainingly chaotic, like the Joker crossed with Christoph Waltz's Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds. He just has a lot of fun being bad — that's something!

Given how popular the first film was (according to Snyder and Netflix, anyway), we'll likely see more Rebel Moon down the line. Snyder previously said he'd like to do a six-hour director's cut of both films, and he recently told Radio Times that he'd like to stretch the Rebel Moon series out to four or six films. Somehow, that just feels like a threat. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Ryan Gosling and Miller/Lord’s Project Hail Mary could be the sci-fi event of 2026

Do you like rip-roaring science fiction books? Do you like movies? Then you are in for a treat in, well, two years. Amazon MGM Studios just set a release date of March 20, 2026 for Project Hail Mary, according to Deadline. It’s based on the Andy Weir novel of the same name, which was one of our favorite books of the past few years, so color us excited.

The film stars honorary SNL cast member Ryan Gosling and will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo behind The Lego Movie and, allegedly, most of the good parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lord also wrote a little-known movie called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The script was penned by Drew Goddard, who cut his teeth on TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost before moving onto features. He directed Cabin in the Woods, which is somehow both iconic and underrated at the same time. If the name Andy Weir sounds familiar, it’s because he wrote a book called The Martian, which inspired the Matt Damon film. Incidentally, Goddard also wrote that script.

This summary of Project Hail Mary, clearly written by an AI, just gets more and more wild as you continue reading:

— Andy Weir (@andyweirauthor) March 10, 2024

I’ve read the book and loved it. It’s more fantastical than The Martian, but still filled with the same science-based solutions to massive life-or-death problems. This time, the entire Earth is on the chopping block, instead of one lone astronaut. It’s also pretty dang funny, just like The Martian, so Lord and Miller are a good match to direct. The pair also signed on to direct an adaptation of another Weir novel, Artemis, but that project looks to have stalled.

Or course, a lot can happen in two years. Here’s to hoping our humble little society keeps clunking along so we can chomp down some popcorn in 2026. Speaking of, that year will also see the release of The Mandalorian & Grogu, the Rey Skywalker film, the sequel to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Toy Story 5, The Batman Part II and, reportedly, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Keanu Reeves is reportedly playing Shadow the Hedgehog in Sonic 3

When Sonic 3 hits the theaters later this year, you may be able to watch a franchise fan favorite be voiced by one of Hollywood's all-time fan favorite actors. Keanu Reeves will play the broody, tortured Shadow the Hedgehog, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The antihero, who's both an arch-rival and an ally to Sonic, will be created by Jim Carrey's Dr. Robotnik after the events of Sonic 2, based on the movie's first footage presented at CinemaCon last week. 

Shadow has a long history in the Sonic universe and first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2, which came out back in 2001. The black-furred anthropomorphic hedgehog was created in the games to help find a cure for Dr. Robotnik's granddaughter Maria, who had a terminal disease. It's unclear if the movie will follow a similar storyline — though we can again expect Sonic and his gang to stop Dr. Robotnik's plans to take over the world — but we'll likely get more details about the film before it comes out on December 20. Jeff Fowler will still lead the production as its director, while Ben Schwartz and James Marsden are reprising their roles as Sonic and his adoptive father-of-sorts Sheriff Tom Wachowski, respectively. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Interstellar is coming back to theaters in September for its 10-year anniversary

It’s somehow been almost 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi odyssey Interstellar was first released in theaters, and to celebrate the upcoming anniversary, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. are bringing it back to the big screen. Per Variety, Paramount announced at CinemaCon this week that Interstellar will be re-released on September 27, 2024 in IMAX 70mm and digital. Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, debuted in the US in fall 2014.

In true form for Nolan, the film is a bit of a mind-bender. Interstellar presents us with a near-future Earth that is becoming uninhabitable due to an unbeatable blight that’s wiped out nearly all food crops. A team of astronauts sets out to space in search of another planet that could support life, using a wormhole to reach a galaxy beyond our own, and space-time weirdness ensues. It’s a great movie and was well-received at the time of its release (even if it left a ton of people confused about what had actually happened), going on to rake in roughly $731 million globally, according to Variety.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch it in IMAX the first time around, it’s definitely worth taking a trip to the theater for this one.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

TCL's first original movie is an absurd-looking, AI-generated love story

Many major tech companies, particularly those that operate in the TV hardware business, have dipped their toes into original content. Although it's had its own free, ad-supported TV (FAST) channels for a while, TCL is late to that party. Not for much longer though, as the company is set to release its first special, a short romance movie, on TCLtv+ this summer. There's just one slight hitch: TCL is using generative AI to make original content for its platform, and early signs do not bode well.

The company has released the first trailer for Next Stop Paris, which it's calling "the first AI-powered love story." TCL used human writers, as well as actors for motion capture and voice performances. While it has artists in the US, Canada, UK and Poland working on the project, it relied heavily on generative AI.

“I am excited by this opportunity to differentiate us with original programming. AIGC [artificial intelligence generated content] for us is the beginning," Chris Regina, TCL's chief content officer, told Broadcasting+Cable. "It’s a new approach and it makes sense coming from a tech and hardware company that that’s where we’re going to start.”

The plot of Next Stop Paris, such as it is, sees a young woman going on her honeymoon to Paris alone after her fiancé ran off with someone in their wedding party. She meets a stranger on the train and the pair explore the French capital together.

TCL is hoping that original content can help draw viewers to TCLtv+ and help build a brand identity for the company. While it's not entirely fair to judge a film based on a trailer, the Next Stop Paris clip gives a terrible first impression for both the project and TCLtv+.

The look of the characters changes throughout, from a moderately realistic style to the hyperrealism we often see from the likes of Midjourney, and they project all of the emotion of a pair of dead fish. Lip syncing is almost non-existent and the characters walk in a very unnatural way. 

The trailer feels like the worst kind of fever dream. Saying this looks like garbage would be an insult to garbage. If "content is king," as Regina put it, Next Stop Paris looks like a pauper.

The Hallmark Channel gets a lot of flak for its romance movies and romcoms, but at least there's an earnestness and high level of care behind the network's output, which does a lot to fill a gap in the theatrical slate. TCL is trying to muscle into that space too.

"There's an audience there that's watching our service and we see a hole in the marketplace with theatrical rom-coms not as prevalent," Regina said. "They're a guilty pleasure. You get under a blanket and watch in front of your TV set. So that's the driver." On top of that, TCL plans to make its original content shoppable and have AI-generated "characters in our shows that can be brand ambassadors and influencers for advertisers."

Thankfully, TCL isn't only working on AI-generated guff. "We are looking at doing traditional content. So movies, scripted shows, unscripted content, specials," Regina, who wrote Next Stop Paris with TCL chief creative officer Daniel Smith, said. "The next thing we have brewing isn't AI at all." That's good, because whatever's next can't look much worse than Next Stop Paris.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Indie Lovecraftian fishing game Dredge is gonna be a movie

In a year packed with rad fishing sims, Dredge was arguably the best. It came out in March 2023 and filled the wet, eldritch-horror-shaped hole in the year's gaming catalogue — and now, it's going to be a movie. Developer Black Salt Games and media company Story Kitchen are partnering to turn Dredge into a live-action feature film. The project's logline is, "Think The Sixth Sense on the water. A grounded atmospheric cosmic horror blend of HP Lovecraft and Ernest Hemingway." That's not not a description of Dredge as a video game, so it looks like we're off to a fine start.

As a film, Dredge will probably focus less on inventory management, boat upgrades and incessant seafloor dragging, and more on the game's Lovecraftian water monsters and moody, foggy atmosphere. Story Kitchen is the production company behind a number of in-progress video game adaptations, including the Sifu live-action movie and Vampire Survivors animated TV series. There's no word on a timeframe for the Dredge film, but it'll likely appear when we least expect it, rising suddenly from the metaphorical depths.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Prepare for more red pill memes: a fifth Matrix movie is happening

There’s another Matrix movie in the works. Warner Bros. just greenlit a fifth installment of the saga, as reported by Deadline. However, neither Lana Wachowski or Lilly Wachowski will be handling directing duties. That honor falls to Drew Goddard, who adapted The Martian into a screenplay and directed the criminally underrated Cabin in the Woods. He's also writing the script. 

Goddard cut his teeth writing episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Lost, among others — you could say he knows his way around genre content. Lana Wachowski will be on board as an executive producer, so there will be some input from one of the franchise’s original creators.

There’s no word as to what the film will be about, but Warner Bros. says that Goddard came to the company with a “new idea that we all believe would be an incredible way to continue the Matrix world.” Goddard added that the original films inspire him on a daily basis and that he is “beyond grateful for the chance to tell stories” in that world.

Warner Bros. is also being cagey as to which, if any, cast members would be returning. The original trilogy featured Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne-Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving and Jada Pinkett Smith. Most of these actors returned for 2021’s The Matrix Resurrections, with one story-based exception.

Speaking of The Matrix Resurrections, it received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. We loved the film, going as far as to call it brilliant, but admitted that it wasn’t for everyone. That’s par for the course with this franchise. Every single Matrix movie beyond the first one is divisive. We’ll have to wait and see what Goddard brings to the table.

He’s also writing a film adaptation based on another novel by The Martian scribe Andy Weir. Project Hail Mary will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and will star Ryan Gosling as an astronaut trying to save the planet from a star-eating microbe.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Watch Disney's official trailer for Star Wars: The Acolyte

Based on the synopsis for Stars Wars: The Acolyte, you can expect more than just the typical action scenes and sci-fi world building from the show. It seems to have a mystery-thriller slant to it that you could find appealing even if you're not a Star Wars fan but love that particular genre — and now Disney+ has released its official trailer to give you an idea of what you can expect. Stars Wars: The Acolyte's story is set at the end of the High Republic era, around a century before the events of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

It revolves around a former padawan played by Amandla Stenberg (Everything, Everything and The Hate U Give) who reunites with her old Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae from the Squid Game) to investigate a series of crimes. They, of course, unearth more and more clues as they look into the crime spree, which Disney says will lead them "down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems..." As a big fan of the mystery and detective stories, it sounds promising, and I'd love it if Disney can nail the execution to give us a satisfying (and unpredictable) ending, as well. 

Stars Wars: The Acolyte will be available for streaming on Disney+ starting on June 4. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

New Netflix movie Atlas puts J-Lo in a giant mech

There aren't enough films that put movie stars in mechs and task them with saving the world. But that's just what Netflix flick Atlas is doing with Jennifer Lopez.

She plays Atlas Shepherd, "a brilliant but misanthropic data analyst with a deep distrust of artificial intelligence," who joins a team that's aiming to secure a renegade robot. As it happens, Atlas and said machine share "a mysterious past," according to Netflix. Inevitably, things don't go as planned. Atlas finds herself stuck on a distant planet (a long way from any block), inside a robot she has to trust to help her protect life back home.

The first trailer doesn't shed much more light on the plot, but it does have plenty of explosive visuals. Titanfall springs to mind here, especially since it shows a mech dropping from the sky to the surface. Sadly, it's probably the closest we'll ever get to a proper Titanfall film.

Atlas also stars Simu Liu and Sterling K. Brown. The film is directed by Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Rampage). It'll hit Netflix on May 24. In the meantime, Team Engadget couldn't help but come up with some alternative titles:

  • Mech In Manhattan

  • Jenny from the Bot

  • This is Mech... now

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Apple reinstates Fortnite creator's developer account after two-day ban

Apple has reversed its decision to ban Epic Games’ developer account after it emerged that European Union officials were investigating the issue. And the EU is currently fining Apple for almost two billion dollars, so it's probably wise to pay attention.

This means Epic can bring its own app store to iPhones and iPads in the EU. “Following conversations with Epic, they have committed to follow the rules, including our DMA [Digital Markets Act] policies,” an Apple spokesperson told Engadget.

Earlier last week, Apple killed Epic’s developer account, claiming Epic was unlikely to abide by contractual agreements and even describing Epic as “verifiably untrustworthy.” Now, nearly four years after its disappearance, the publisher can more easily bring Fortnite back to those devices in the bloc.

Yes, Fortnite was last (officially) on iOS four years ago.

— Mat Smith

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Another Super Mario Bros. movie is coming in 2026

And the first is coming back to theaters this summer.

Nintendo and Illumination are releasing a second animated film for the Super Mario franchise, and it’s expected to come out April 3, 2026. The news comes from series creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who tweeted it from the Nintendo of America X account on Sunday as part of the ongoing Mario Day shopping push celebrations. Based on his description, it doesn’t seem like it will be a direct sequel to the first, though. To kill time until 2026, you can play some Mario game remakes and make Mario Kart Lego sets.

Continue reading.

Oppenheimer ruled at the 2024 Oscars 

Apple and Netflix were nearly shut out.

Despite combining for 32 nominations, Netflix and Apple TV+ were nearly shut out of the 2024 Oscars, with Netflix winning just a single award for Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Best Live Action Short Film). Netflix scored six prizes last year. The big surprise was Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple TV+) not gaining a single award. Oppenheimer claimed prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, editing, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Original Score and Cinematography. 

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Marilyn Monroe gets digitally resurrected as AI

Thanks to a company that owns the rights to her likeness.


At SXSW on Friday, Soul Machines unveiled Digital Marilyn, an AI chatbot designed to look and talk just like Marilyn Monroe. It was made in a partnership with Authentic Brands Group, which owns the rights to Monroe’s likeness and those of numerous other dead and living celebrities, including Elvis Presley and Shaq.

Soul Machines introduced its Marilyn Monroe AI to the public in an International Women’s Day Instagram post. Notably, all of the other AI celebrities the company currently offers chats with are men who are alive, and who can weigh in on their inclusion.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at