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Matthew Monagle

Asghar Farhadi
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
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Oscar-Nominated Iranian Filmmaker Caught Up in American Immigrant Ban

While the Academy Awards may leave a sour taste in the mouths of those who think artists shouldn’t be forced to compete, there’s no denying that an Oscar nomination is still a powerful piece of validation for a lot of filmmakers, especially those from other countries. Filmmakers like Asghar Farhadi  —  whose 2016 film The Salesman will be seen by many Americans due to its Best Foreign Language Film nomination  —  should be able to take this time to engage with audiences about the importance of this work. Instead, Farhadi will have to watch the Academy Awards on television like the rest of us.

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Sundance Film Festival
Tommaso Boddi / Stringer, Getty Images
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Hackers Shut Down the Sundance Film Festival Box Office

Cyberattacks  —  or, as newly elected President Trump would say, “the Cyber”  —  are an increasingly common part of the world we live in. With most private information and secure data now available online, one tech-savvy computer user can do more damage to an institution than hundreds of lawyers or corporate spies. And while we might think of cyberattacks as being reserved for the Big Evil Corporations of the world, it turns out that not even film festivals are immune from being targeted.

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Frederick M. Brown / Stringer, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown / Stringer, Getty Images
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Bryan Cranston Explains Why ‘Power Rangers’ Is a ‘Nice Bookend’ to His Career

After starring in arguably the greatest television series of all time, Bryan Cranston has certainly earned the right to pick any movie or television projects that he darn well pleases. That didn’t prevent a few people from raising their eyebrows when it was announced that Cranston would be joining the cast of the new Power Rangers reboot as their leader and mentor Zordon. Sure, we all know that Cranston got his start as a Power Rangers voice actor back in the day, but is he really so loyal as to work on a new live-action movie when he could be out there, winning Oscars or lighting up Broadway

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Beauty and the Beast
Disney
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No One Woos Like Gaston in This New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Photo

I’d be hard-pressed to name a Disney villain I like as much as Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston. In addition to being a Sondheim-esque twist on the traditional idea of a fairy tale prince  —  vain, violent, and eager to confuse chivalry with misogyny  —  the character of Gaston has also become something of a method actor’s dream for Disney theme park employees. Remember the time that Gaston challenged a kid to a push-up contest? Or how about the time that Gaston got shouted down by a young girl? It turns out that no one goes viral like Gaston, either.

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Moana Disney
Walt Disney Animation
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Get Your Lin-Manuel Miranda Fix With This Outtake Track From ‘Moana’

It seems to me that Moana brought in two very different audiences this holiday weekend. For some, Moana was the newest entry in a long line of Disney princess movies and a step in the right direction for the studio in terms of inclusiveness and empowering young women. For others, it was a chance to cure their Lin-Manuel Miranda withdrawals after the turnover of the Hamilton cast and the end of the regular Ham4Ham sidewalk performances. That probably explains the odd mix of millennials and children at the recent matinee you attended.

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Fantastic Beasts trailer
Warner Bros.
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The Secret Ingredient Is Magic in the New ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Clip

Do you prefer pie or strudel? It’s a valid question. If you ask the faceless horde over at Yahoo! Answers, the correct response is pie (and it isn’t really even that close). But if you ask Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them character  —  and noted muggle  —  Jacob Kowalski, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a piping hot strudel for dinner. The secret ingredient? Why, magic, of course.

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Julia Roberts
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Julia Roberts to Star in True-Crime Story of Framed PTA Mom

Last month, the Los Angeles Times began a six-part story on Kelli Peters, a school volunteer and PTA member in the community of Irvine, California who became the unwitting subject of a bizarre conspiracy to ruin her family’s name. A few days later, Peters’ tell-all book, I’ll Get You! Drugs, Lies, and the Terrorizing of a PTA Mom, hit bookshelves across the country. It wasn’t long before the film rights to the book were shopped around in Hollywood, and now it appears a major star is interested in playing the role of Peters herself.

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Justin Timberlake
Michael Campanella, Getty Images
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Watch the Trailer for Netflix’s Justin Timberlake Concert Film ‘Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids’

I don’t think it’s a particularly bold statement to say that Justin Timberlake is one of the great all-around talents currently working today. Everyone knows his music and his hilarious appearances on Saturday Night Live, but with a filmography that includes everything from Inside Llewyn Davis to The Social Network, Timberlake has also proven himself several times over as an actor. Whatever Timberlake decides to do, odds are he will do it very, very well.

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Moulin Rouge
20th Century Fox
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‘Moulin Rouge’ Will Become a Musical Because It Can, Can, Can

The relationship between Broadway and and Hollywood has always struck me as a bit unfair. Hollywood basically gets its pick of pre-packaged products: wonderful lyrics, showstopping dance numbers, and beloved songs. Broadway, meanwhile, has to do most of the heavy lifting when adapting a movie for the stage. Oh, you want to make Waitress into a Broadway musical? That’s great! You’ll just need to write a whole new suite of songs. And figure out all the choreography. And rewrite the book to make those first two things fit. Because the movie has none of that.

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Jennifer Lawrence Chris Pratt
Getty Images
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Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt Are Very Serious in Space in the First ‘Passengers’ Poster

Now that summer is officially drawing to a close, people are preparing themselves for the inevitable shift from the blockbuster season to the award season. Sometimes the award season movies have months of build up, with endless festival buzz and Oscar speculation; sometimes, though, a film is just sort of there, expected to do well because of its cast and crew but with no real hype to speak of. One such movie is Passengers, the high-concept science fiction film from Sony starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Much like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Passengers seems expected that special holiday mark between blend of big budget entertainment and arthouse sensibility.

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Universal
Universal
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Matt Damon Is Open to More Jason Bourne Movies

Flashback to four or five years ago and it seemed like the idea of another Matt Damon-led Jason Bourne movie was a bit of a pipe dream. How things change. Not only did Jason Bourne open in theaters this weekend, but according to Entertainment Weekly (via Heroic Hollywood), Damon would be open to coming back for even more Jason Bourne sequels.

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Lea Seydoux Bond Girl
Sony Pictures
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Kristen Stewart Has a Fun Idea for a Female James Bond Movie

By now, you probably have a preferred actor in mind for James Bond. Maybe it’s Idris Elba. Maybe it’s Tom Hiddleston. Maybe it’s Gillian Anderson. You could probably make a compelling argument for or against every actor currently working today; regardless, it’s fun to watch both fans and actors alike cast a pretty wide net for the role. The fact that nothing is off the table this time around can only mean good things for the future of the franchis

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