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Matt Singer

Matt Singer is the managing editor and film critic of the website ScreenCrush.com. For five years, he was the on-air host of IFC News on the Independent Film Channel, hosting coverage of film festivals and red carpets around the world. He’s been a frequent contributor to the television shows CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents At the Movies, and his writing has also appeared in print and online at The Village Voice, The Dissolve, and Indiewire.
Jar Jar Binks
Lucasfilm
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Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Jar Jar Binks in ‘The Phantom Menace’

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

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

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

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Category: Arts + Culture Tags:
Disney movies smoking
Walt Disney Pictures
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Disney Bans Smoking in Youth-Rated Movies

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

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Category: Arts + Culture Tags:
Netflix Wet Hot American Summer Photos
Netflix
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New Netflix Instant Releases: July 2015

July is almost upon us and it’s going to be a good month for Netflix users, as the streaming service is adding a whole slew of new movies and TV shows, including a bunch of exclusives. Cult comedy fans are eagerly awaiting the debut of the return of Wet Hot American Summer as a new series featuring the original cast, and standup fans will get a brand-new special from Rush Hour star Chris Tucker. Plus, there’s a whole slew of recent hits from television and cinemas (The Guest!). Read on for your guide to the new Netflix Instant releases arriving in July.

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Category: Arts + Culture Tags:
Christopher Lee RIP
Getty Images
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Christopher Lee, ‘Dracula’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ Actor, Dead at 93

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

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

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

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frozen-ride-disney-epcot-pic
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‘Frozen Ever After’ Ride Coming to Disney’s Epcot Theme Park in 2016

You had to know that when Frozen became the seventh highest grossing movie in history (its $1.27 billion is more than Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Casino Royale combined) that Disney was going to turn it into a ride, if not a whole section of rides at one of (if not all of) their amusement parks. They’d already announced the plans for a Frozen attraction at Epcot, and today, via The Wall Street Journal, the revealed a lot of the details about it. It’s called Frozen Ever After and it opens next year.

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pixar-easter-eggs-feat
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The 50 Coolest Pixar Easter Eggs of All-Time

The wizards at Pixar Animation Studios are known for a few things. They’re famous for producing thrillingly original and innovative computer-animated movies. They’re known for cartoons that please adults as much as (or sometimes more than) they please children. And they’ve become even more beloved in nerdier circles for their inexhaustible dedication to Easter eggs.

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Category: Arts + Culture Tags: ,
Jaws
Universal
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‘Jaws’ Is Coming Back to Theaters For Its 40th Anniversary

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

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Poltergeist
20th Century Fox
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‘Poltergeist’ Review: A Decent Remake Haunted By the Spirit of the Original

Everything that goes wrong in Poltergeist stems from an act of desecration; the building of a cookie-cutter housing development on top of an old cemetery. Some might find the sheer act of attempting a remake of Poltergeist similarly disrespectful; the 1982 original is something of a masterpiece of suburban terror. But if viewers can look past the sheer audacity of attempting another Poltergeist, they’ll find a solid modernization, the cinematic equivalent of a decent cover version of a great rock song. It’s totally superfluous, and not nearly as satisfying as the original, but well-performed and effective in its own way. It’s nice (or, in this case, deeply unsettling) to revisit an old classic in a new arrangement.

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