Review: Alex Garland’s ANNIHILATION is Beautiful and Haunting Sci-Fi Thriller

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Director Alex Garland set the bar extremely high with the first film he directed, Ex Machina. Like many of you, I was blown away by that film, and it was going to be a hard film to follow. When I first heard that the director was taking on Annihilation as his next film, it seemed like it would be the perfect project for him. And you know what? It totally was!

The film is based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy and the story follows a team of female scientists who embark on a dangerous journey inside what is known as The Shimmer. This strange alien phenomenon is changing the biology of everything that it engulfs and it's expanding. The team sent in consists of an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and a biologist. Their job is to study The Shimmer; collect specimens; record their observations, find out what happened to previous expeditions, and if they can... come out of it alive.

Nothing can prepare this team for what they are going to face once inside. The deeper they travel into The Shimmer the crazier things get for this team of people. Along the way, they witness and experience things that are both strange, disorienting, and nightmarishly frightening! Seriously... there's some pretty messed up shit that they come across. 

As I was watching the story unfold, there was no way to predict what was going to happen next. The movie definitely kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat. You should know that this is more of a slow-burn thriller. If you're expecting a full-on action-packed sci-fi spectacle, that's not what you're going to get. It seems like the movie is meant to play with the audience's emotions, mess with their heads, and make them think. It certainly takes you in some insane unexpected directions! 

Don't get me wrong, the movie does have some great action as well as some crazy terrifying moments. I don't want to go into detail on any of that stuff because it's best experienced while you're watching the movie. 

This is a fascinating film and if you liked what you saw in the trailers and you're into strange and trippy sci-fi movies, chances are you're going to enjoy Annihilation. Garland did an incredible job with this movie, I especially loved the visual aspect of it, which you get a taste of in the trailers that were released. There were aspects of the movie that reminded me of something you'd see Stanley Kubrick do.

Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac and every one of them give fantastic performances! I was just engulfed in this wonderfully strange and haunting story from beginning to end. I know the movie isn't going to be for everyone, but there's definitely an audience that is going to love and appreciate it. 

INSIDIOUS 5 is Reportedly in Development Because The Franchise is a Big Cash Cow

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I am a huge fan of the Insidious horror franchise. I've enjoyed the film's that they have made and it turns out that the last movie in the franchise, Insidious: The Last Key, turned out the be the highest grossing film in the franchise! Here's a breakdown of how much each film has made:

  • Insidious: The Last Key (2018) — $164.4M
  • Insidious Chapter 2 (2013) — $161.9M
  • Insidious Chapter 3 (2015) — $113.0M
  • Insidious (2011) — $97.0M

According to Bloody-Disgusting, Bumhouse is reportedly developing a fifth Insidious film, which shouldn't come as a surprise. I'm just curious to see what the next chapter in the franchise will entail! One bit of information that the report does drop about the next film is that it will unlikely be another prequel. 

Even though James Wan has remained a producer on the franchise over the course of the four films, it would be cool to see him come back to direct another one. I doubt it will happen, but ya never know. Adam Robitel directed the last movie and he did such a great job that maybe the studio will bring him back for another one. We'll just have to wait and see, but I'd be cool will that.

Where would you like to see the Insidious franchise go next?

BURNOUT PARADISE REMASTERED Has Been Announced

EA has announced a few days ago, that Burnout Paradise will be getting a remaster soon. The game will be an improved version of the original open-world racing title. Burnout Paradise Remastered is set to be released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 16 and will be priced at $39.99. 

Previously released back in 2008 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PC, the game became widely popular for its open world approach to the racing series. Paradise is the last entry in the main series, and the last game overall was a spinoff released onto the mobile platform back in 2010. The remastered version of the game is currently in development by Criterion together with Guildford. 

The new and improved remaster of Burnout Paradise will support 4K resolution for both the PlayStation 4 Pro, and the Xbox One X. However, the game will not offer native 4K on all platforms. Furthermore, EA has revealed that the game will run in 1080p on the regular PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

Burnout Paradise Remastered will also include all previously released DLCs with the exception of the Time Savers Pack, which unlocks every vehicle in the game. The remaster will be available in both physical and digital forms, and EA has revealed that a PC version will release at a later date and will be exclusive in the Origin store. Currently, there are no announcements for a Switch version of the remaster, or if the developer is even planning on releasing one in the future. 

In addition, EA has confirmed that the remaster will include an eight-player online multiplayer mode, just as it did in the original version of the game. Subscribers to EA Access will be able to play the game in advance for 10 hours, starting on March 9. 

Are you excited for the release of Burnout Paradise Remastered? Have you played the original game before, if so, what were your favorite moments? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Joss Whedon Drops Out of DC Entertainment’s BATGIRL Movie

I've got some bad news for Joss Whedon fans and some good news for DC fans who hated what he did with Justice League. THR is reporting that the filmmaker has dropped out of the Batgirl film project that he was supposed to write and direct. Apparently, he just couldn't find the right story to tell. Whedon had this to say in a statement:

"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’?"

That's a shame to learn that it turned out this way. I was excited and looking forward to seeing what Joss Whedon would do with a Batgirl film, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. 

Whedon jumped on board the film project almost a year ago, but in that time he just could seem to crack a story that he wanted to tell. I'll, be honest... I'm surprised that this is the case. A character like Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl seems like the kind of character that Whedon would thrive with. The report adds:

"Industry sources add that even as Whedon faced story issues, in today’s cultural entertainment environment, a male filmmaker may have faced greater public scrutiny if he were to have tackled a movie with such feminist importance such as Batgirl or Wonder Woman, much like a white filmmaker would have seen backlash if they were to take on the Black Panther movie."

Whedon still has a strong relationship with Warner Bros. but he won't be directing Batgirl. What do you think about Whedon dropping out of the project? 

First Look at The STAR WARS Hotel Being Planned at Walt Disney World

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In addition to the Star Wars-themed Galaxy's Edge attraction being built at the Disney theme parks, Walt Disney World is also developing an entire immersive hotel experience that will be connected to the attraction. For those of us who have always wanted to have a real life full-on immersive Star Wars experience, Disney is making that dream come true.

Today we have some cool concept art to show you giving us our first look at what the hotel experience will be like, and it looks freakin' awesome! The official Disney Parks site says:

"The immerse experience offered at this hotel will stand out among all of our resorts around the globe. As you can see, families visiting this resort will board a starship alive with characters and stories that unfold all around them during their voyage through the galaxy – and every window has a view of space!
"The resort will also be seamlessly connected to the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing guests a complete Star Wars experience. Guests visiting the resort will be welcome to participate as a resident of the galaxy by dressing in Star Wars-inspired attire."

That sounds amazing! The attraction will also feature the Millennium Falcon and they will also be introducing a new planet in the Star Wars universe called Batuu. Here are the details on that:

"This remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but its prominence was bypassed by the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer to stay out of the mainstream, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space.
"It’s also a convenient safe haven for those intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order. While Batuu may be new to us, it is clearly already familiar to many characters from the Star Wars saga as a stepping off point for epic adventures."

I can only imagine that staying in this Hotel is going to cost a ton of money and that it's going to be hard to get a room in a timely manner. You'll probably have to plan your trip out several months or maybe even years in advance. I really hope that I get a chance to check it out one day. It seems like it will be an incredibly cool experience!

Joel McHale Gave Celebrities Sharp Knives For Appearing On THE SOUP

Most celebrities have gift bags for other celebrities when they appear on their talk show, and typically, it's just a swag bag full of show merch. Allison Janney said this was not the case on The Soup and ratted out Joel McHale for giving her two giant hunting knives for her appearance on the series. As far as why McHale did this, he isn't much help in giving an actual reason, but its so funny to watch him explain it we 'll give him a pass anyway:

Here’s Our First Look at Iris West’s Superhero Costume in THE FLASH

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For those of you who are still enjoying The Flash, The CW has released a promo poster giving us our first look at Candice Patton as Iris West wearing her superhero costume. She will wear this suit in the upcoming episode "Run, Iris, Run", the story of which centers on Iris, who gets Barry Allen's powers. 

As you can see, the suit has a purple-and-white color scheme, which is reminiscent of the costumes worn by the Tornado Twins, Barry and Iris's children who fight crime in the future. I think she looks pretty slick. Here are the story details that were released for the episode:

Team Flash confronts a new bus meta, Matthew AKA Melting Pot (guest star Leonardo Nam), with the ability to swap people’s DNA. During a battle with Team Flash, Matthew transfers Barry’s (Grant Gustin) super speed to Iris (Candice Patton).
Now, with a new threat unleashed on Central City, Barry must act as the team leader while Iris takes on the mantle of superhero speedster in order to defeat their new foe.

It'll be a lot of fun to see Iris get into some speedster action of her own! "Run, Iris, Run" will air on The CW on March 13th. What do you think of Iris' superhero costume design.

Here Are The Xbox Games With Gold For March 2018

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As the month of February draws to a close, Microsoft has unveiled the lineup of free games that will be available to subscribers of Xbox Live Gold for March 2018.

Xbox One players will start the month with Trials of the Blood Dragon, which is a game that incorporates a more action oriented gameplay on the Trials series. Trials of the Blood Dragon is a combination of the motorbike racing series Trials, and a spin off of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The game will be available to subscribers for the whole month of March. 

Next up is Superhot, a classic shooter game wherein time will only move when the player does. It gives players the ability to setup a Matrix-style dodging bullets scenes in-game. Superhot will be available mid March until April 15. 

For Xbox 360 owners, 2 free games will be available for the month of March. First up is the video game adaptation of Brave, which revolves around the events of the Disney film of the same name. The game will be available to both Xbox 360 and Xbox One players from March 1 until 15. Both Xbox One and 360 players will also be able to download Quantum Conundrum, a puzzle-based first person game from Airtight Games and Kim Swift. 

To recap, the following games will be free to all subscribers next month: 

  • Trials of the Blood Dragon - March 1-31 (Xbox One)
  • Superhot - March 16 to April 15 (Xbox One)
  • Brave - March 1-15 (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
  • Quantum Conundrum - March 16-31 (Xbox One, Xbox 360)

What do you think the lineup of free games for Xbox Games with Gold subscribers this month? What was your favorite game from February’s lineup? Don’t forget that you can still access February’s Games with Gold titles, which includes Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India that will be available until the first half of March. 

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Fox’s X-FORCE Movie Will Start Shooting This Fall

While the deal between Fox and Disney are still being ironed out, Fox isn't waiting to move forward with their Deadpool spinoff film X-Force. According to Production WeeklyX-Force will start shooting sometime this film in October. That's sooner than expected.

As we saw in the first trailer for Deadpool 2, the X-Force team was briefly teased. Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, and Zazie Beetz are all expected to reprise their roles of Deadpool, Cable, and Domino. As we saw in the trailer, we also know that Terry Crews will be part of the team. We just don't know who exactly he will be playing. Warpath, Colossus, Boom Boom, Shatterstar, Feral, Wolverine, X-23, Archangel, Psylocke, and Fantomex have all been members of the team in the comic.

Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) is directing the movie and I think there's a good chance that he's going to give fans the badass film that they're hoping for. The movie will most likely end up landing an R-rating as the creative team won't want to hold back on these edgy Marvel characters. When previously talking about Cable and X-Force, Josh Brolin said:

"I think we’re not trying to hide the fact that this is the beginning of Cable and absolutely not the end. I think when you’re sensitive about how you appreciate it. When you’re sensitive about how you reveal this character there’s a sense of mystery in it, so then when we finally get into X-Force that you’re going to be with this guy full blown all the time. There’s a lot to be revealed."

I'm happy to hear that this movie has been put on the fast track. There's no release date for X-Force yet, but Deadpool 2 hits theaters on June 1, 2018.

J.J. Abrams Has Completed The Script For STAR WARS: EPISODE IX and He’ll Start Shooting in July

J.J. Abrams recently appeared on The Last Show with Stephen Colbert, and it was there that he revealed the script for Star Wars: Episode IX has been completed. He also says that he will start shooting the film in July. 

“We have a script, which is a big deal for me. It starts shooting end of July. Having a script in advance is something I haven’t always been lucky enough to have. I’m writing this with Chris Terrio, who is a genius, and I’m having a great time.”

Abrams took over the film project after Lucasfilm and director Colin Trevorrow parted ways over creative differences. I wonder if Abrams is feeling the pressure of delivering the final chapter of this new Star Wars trilogy. He has already said that he won't let the fan hate of The Last Jedi impact his story for Episode IX, but that doesn't mean he's not feeling the pressure. At least he's going into production with a finished script! 

There are so many questions that need answering in this new trilogy and fans like myself are hoping that those questions are answered in Episode IX. If they aren't answered, a lot of fans are gonna be pissed. 

I'm interested to find out what Abrams' approach to the story will be and how it will follow the controversial and bold decisions that Rian Johnson made with The Last Jedi. One of the main things I'm hoping to see explored more are the Knights of Ren and their role in this whole story.

Obviously, Abrams isn't going to reveal any story details anytime soon, but all that stuff will come in time. As always, it will start out as rumors and then as more and more official information is revealed, those rumors will be confirmed or debunked. 

Star Wars: Episode IX is set to hit theaters on December 20, 2019.