Associated Press AP

Stray Kids Are Back And Bolder Than Ever With Celebratory New Single ‘MIROH’

How do you sum up a Stray Kids song? The JYP Entertainment rookies have been (self-) producing some of the boldest, most sonically interesting K-pop tracks since their debut a year ago, and their latest, “MIROH,” is no exception. (In fact, it might be their most fascinating lead single yet.) Their signature sound is more of a mood; it’s loud and in your face — boisterous, even — but it’s one that’s fitting for a group of nine individuals on the cusp of adulthood in an ever-uncertain world.

That, you could say, is the concept of “MIROH.” Inspired by the word miro, or “maze” in Korean, “MIROH” is the beginning of a new chapter for Stray Kids. Their previous I Am… series focused heavily on the theme of identity. Who am I? Am I you? And most importantly: Who am I trying to be? With their new mini album, Clé 1: MIROH (out now), it’s clear that these coming-of-age questions are still at the forefront of their minds — but they’re now more confident than ever.

Stray Kids are maturing in every sense of the word. Their sound is more refined, yet still exciting. “MIROH” — produced by members Bang Chan, Han, and Changbin, otherwise known as 3racha — is a cacophony of sounds, rhythms, chants, and animal noises. The hook is massive, a perfect stadium-sized banger of a track. But perhaps its most unique quality is that it doesn’t follow any sort of familiar structure. There’s no bridge, or breakdown; it’s a relentless 3 minutes and 28 seconds that showcases the group’s impressive rap line and explosive choreography.

The music video sets up the world of MIROH — a concrete jungle of sorts — where, having escaped the brainwashed society of District 9, Stray Kids seemingly stage a coup to overthrow the powerful men at the top. It’s an act of teen rebellion, perfectly in line with the group’s overall message. “It’s not hard, in this rough jungle,” leader Bang Chan sings. “It was me who ran into it, I’m okay.”

“MIROH” is a celebration, yes, but it’s also a warning call. The powerful choreography was heavily influenced by Haka, the ceremonial dance of the Māori culture. It’s typically done as a challenge to opponents.

Overall, everything about “MIROH” is big — the hook, the choreography, the concept — but it never feels empty. That’s a real strength for Stray Kids. They make music that matters to them, and in doing so, they connect with an audience, many of whom are also navigating their own mazes and facing their own anxieties at every turn.

When it comes to Stray Kids, every new release is an evolution — and much like growing up, wildly unpredictable.

Zack Snyder’s Response To Fans Wanting A Justice League Snyder Cut

When it was announced that Zack Snyder would be holding a three-day event screening his director’s cuts, and holding Q&A sessions, you knew it was coming. Someone was going to ask about The Snyder Cut for Justice League. In this case, they shouted about it, and Snyder didn’t have much of a response — other than to nod and drop a line about “subversion.” Here’s a transcript of the conversation, with a video below so you can hear for yourself:

Some fans thought they heard him say “some version” instead of subversion, thinking he meant to release some version of Justice League. But it sounds like he was making a joking about fans being subversive, to undermine the authority of Warner Bros. and push for his director’s cut on Justice League.

Here’s a video from Twitter so you can watch and listen for yourself.

The “I hope so too” — and the way he said it — to me, that said the most. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t take that moment to thank the passionate fans for pushing for his vision of Justice League. They are the ones that still tweet #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. The Justice League cast would like to see Snyder’s intended director’s cut too; Jason Momoa said he was obsessed with the Snyder Cut and wanted to see it.

Zack Snyder ended up stepping away (or was forced away) as the director of Justice League due to a personal family tragedy. Joss Whedon took over for reshoots, and a lot changed from what Snyder had envisioned for the film — and pretty much negated what he had planned to do next. The resulting Justice League film made a decent amount of money ($657,924,295 worldwide) but it didn’t really make anyone happy.

Recently, one of Zack Snyder’s longtime collaborators, photographer Clay Enos, said what happened with Justice League would “go down in film history as some sort of terrible wrong that can be righted, creatively.” He said we need a cultural shift that prioritizes auteur filmmaking from director’s with a specific vision.

It does seem like Warner Bros./DC may have learned some lessons after the frustrations of Justice League. They found a hit with James Wan’s $1 billion Aquaman and look to have a crowd-pleaser with Shazam! Word is, Warner Bros. is shying away from the shared universe to focus more on individual stories and director’s visions. So some good seems to be coming out of the whole mess.

This Rotten Week: Predicting The Beach Bum and Dumbo Reviews!

If there was ever a movie that seems written specifically with Matthew McConaughey in mind, it’s this one. In fact, I get the sense that if the dude had passed the movie might never have been made.

Harmony Korine has written and directed a bunch of films, though the only one to really hit wide release was 2012’s Springer Breakers (66%). It is easily his most well-received and well-publicized film. The other stuff is mostly, well, weird (or just depressing like Kids).

Beach Bum appears to take some of its look and feel from Springer Breakers, embracing the neon Florida haze while following around Moondog in his attempt to, well, be Moondog. McConaughey looks every bit in his element, playing what seems to be a mashup of Jimmy Buffett and Hunter S. Thompson.

Early reviews are basically split down the middle with the Tomatometer sitting at 55% through 20 looks. I suspect it only drops as the week goes on considering the positive reviews all found a few things they didn’t like with the film. I see that trend continuing and it ends in the rotten territory almost for sure.

Ben Affleck Hopes To Direct His Next Film At The End Of 2019

What is Ben Affleck going to direct next? We know it’s not The Batman. He’s not going to star in that either. But he does have a lot of irons in the fire on the writing and production front, and he’s hoping at least one of them will be ready for him to direct at the end of this year. More than two years ago, he was announced to direct and star in an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Here’s what Affleck said when asked if that will be the next film he directs:

It’s not easy to get a movie made, even for someone with a solid record of success in the industry and two Oscars (Argo, Good Will Hunting). Collider asked Ben Affleck if the projects he has in development are all things he’s written, or if he might direct something that he hasn’t written. Here’s what he had to say:

The last feature Ben Affleck directed was Live by Night in 2016. It wasn’t exactly the success of Gone Baby Gone or The Town, never mind his Oscar-winning Argo.

He’s certainly kept busy on every other front, though. Right now he’s promoting his role in the Netflix film Triple Frontier. He’s also executive producing the TV series City on a Hill. We’re also waiting to hear more about that true crime movie he’s supposed to be directing, starring his buddy Matt Damon, following a rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game.

On the acting and producing front, Ben Affleck will star in Torrance, which is set to come out this October, directed by Gavin O’Connor. O’Connor directed Affleck in The Accountant and supposedly they’re still planning to make a sequel. Affleck also has a role in the political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted, directed by Dee Rees, which was picked up by Netflix for a release … at some point.

We’ve seen how easily plans come together and fall apart when it comes to making movies. After all, Ben Affleck was supposed to direct, write, produce, and star in The Batman movie. He’s said to still be on board as one of the producers, but he admitted he and his fellow screenwriter couldn’t “crack” the script. Rather than just push forward with something subpar, he walked away. Now Matt Reeves has that project and seems to know what he wants to do with it.

When Ben Affleck is good, he’s great. He may have had his confidence shaken a bit after Live by Night and the back-to-back critical bashing of Batman v Superman and Justice League (which he didn’t direct, but still). He’s also been dealing with things in his personal life. But I’m hoping the pieces come together for him with the right project, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he announces as his next directing project for the end of 2019.

In the meantime, keep up with everything headed to the big screen this year with our handy 2019 movie guide.

Shazam! Made More Money Than Aquaman In Preview Screenings

My man Aquaman has the highest-grossing DC film of all time. Shazam! is not expected to top it, or even come close, to be honest. But Zachary Levi’s film is already defying expectations, with a preview screening pulling in bigger bucks than the DCEU’s reigning king — among other movies.

Shazam! played in 1,200 Fandango preview screenings Saturday night, making $3.3 million. That topped Aquaman‘s Atom/Amazon preview take of $2.9 million, and also the previews for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($2.6 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($1.8 million), and Hotel Transylvania ($1.3 million).

Those figures are per Deadline, which noted that Shazam!‘s preview box office take was spread pretty evenly throughout North America. Of course, that doesn’t mean the movie will have a huge opening weekend at the domestic North American box office, or charm the international box office in the way that really boosted Aquaman over the top. But it’s a promising start for a movie that’s easy to root for.

Zachary Levi — aka the kid-in-an-adult-superhero’s body himself — was on hand for one of Shazam!‘s advance screenings. He thanked the fans, who were surely surprised and thrilled to see him:

The review embargo for Shazam! lifted last night, with critics flooding the internet with lengthy opinions. Most of the reviews have been very positive, and Shazam! currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93% from 46 reviews.

Aquaman actually had a relatively slow start at the domestic box office, with the lowest opening of the DCEU. But it definitely made up for it over time, especially with help from the foreign box office, and the movie currently has a worldwide gross of $1,146,648,294. That’s the best of the current DCEU, and also the best for any DC Comics movie.

So right now many lucky critics and fans have already seen Shazam! but the rest of us will have to wait another couple of weeks. The movie officially opens in theaters on Friday, April 5. Shazam! will show up right after Dumbo, about a month after Captain Marvel, and only a few weeks before Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. We are officially in the busy season, and it should continue through the summer. Keep up with everything headed to the big screen in 2019 with our handy movie schedule.

Barack Obama Sent the Sweetest Engagement Note to Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

After two years of dating, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are engaged. And although the blissfully Instagram-happy couple has plenty of fans who have followed the romance since it officially kicked off, it seems like their No. 1 fan is none other than former President Barack Obama.

Shortly after the pair announced their engagement on Instagram, the former POTUS sent the pair an adorable note congratulating the couple on their engagement. Naturally, Rodriguez shared the note on Friday after receiving it (come on, wouldn’t you?).

On his personal stationary, Obama wrote:

Jennifer and Alex –
Michelle and I just wanted to congratulate you on your engagement. After 26 years together, we can say that whatever challenges life may bring, sharing them with someone you love makes it all better.
All the best,
Barack Obama

In his social media post, which he shared to both Instagram and Twitter, Rodriguez shared a photo of the note and simply captioned it, “This means the world to us. #44”

As for how J.Lo and A-Rod know the Obamas, Vulture reports that Rodriguez likely first met the former President when he visited the White House back in 2010 with the rest of the Yankees. Lopez, on the other hand, recently shared the stage with Michelle Obama in February during the 2019 Grammys.

But it might just be that the Obamas are simply big fans of the couple just like the rest of us. After all, the Lopez-Rodriguez twosome are a couple who appear to be madly, deeply, truly in love—kind of like the Obamas themselves.

“Everything that we do, we do together,” Lopez recently shared with People in an in-depth interview last week about their relationship. “We’re constantly supporting each other in our individual endeavors and then we’re thinking about all the things that we can build together.” She added, “He knows my dreams and I know his dreams, and together we feel like we’re stronger. He is my biggest collaborator, and my biggest supporter.”

Shazam! Made More More Money Than Aquaman In Preview Screenings

My man Aquaman has the highest-grossing DC film of all time. Shazam! is not expected to top it, or even come close, to be honest. But Zachary Levi’s film is already defying expectations, with a preview screening pulling in bigger bucks than the DCEU’s reigning king — among other movies.

Shazam! played in 1,200 Fandango preview screenings Saturday night, making $3.3 million. That topped Aquaman‘s Atom/Amazon preview take of $2.9 million, and also the previews for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($2.6 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($1.8 million), and Hotel Transylvania ($1.3 million).

Those figures are per Deadline, which noted that Shazam!‘s preview box office take was spread pretty evenly throughout North America. Of course, that doesn’t mean the movie will have a huge opening weekend at the domestic North American box office, or charm the international box office in the way that really boosted Aquaman over the top. But it’s a promising start for a movie that’s easy to root for.

Zachary Levi — aka the kid-in-an-adult-superhero’s body himself — was on hand for one of Shazam!‘s advance screenings. He thanked the fans, who were surely surprised and thrilled to see him:

The review embargo for Shazam! lifted last night, with critics flooding the internet with lengthy opinions. Most of the reviews have been very positive, and Shazam! currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93% from 46 reviews.

Aquaman actually had a relatively slow start at the domestic box office, with the lowest opening of the DCEU. But it definitely made up for it over time, especially with help from the foreign box office, and the movie currently has a worldwide gross of $1,146,648,294. That’s the best of the current DCEU, and also the best for any DC Comics movie.

So right now many lucky critics and fans have already seen Shazam! but the rest of us will have to wait another couple of weeks. The movie officially opens in theaters on Friday, April 5. Shazam! will show up right after Dumbo, about a month after Captain Marvel, and only a few weeks before Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. We are officially in the busy season, and it should continue through the summer. Keep up with everything headed to the big screen in 2019 with our handy movie schedule.

Paralympian Alana Nichols Is Facing Her Biggest Challenge Yet: Motherhood as a Disabled Woman

Few could accomplish all that Alana Nichols has: At the age of 36, she’s won three gold medals, traveled the world, had the honor of meeting three presidents, and even become the first female American to win gold in both the summer and winter games, adding the title “history-maker” to her impressive resume. And she did it all from a wheelchair.

Nichols grew up in a small New Mexico town playing sports. By the time she was in high school, she was intent on pursuing athletics professionally, hoping to attend college on a softball scholarship. But during her senior year, Nichols had a snowboarding accident, falling on a rock. She was paralyzed on impact.

Nichols’ plan for her future was snatched away in a second. Just 17, she was left lying in a hospital bed with nothing but time to think. What would she do with her life now? How would she readjust and move forward? “If there was ever a physical feat in front of me that I was presented with, I knew that if I took the right steps, built the right muscle, developed the right skill set, I would be able to accomplish that,” she says. “So, after I became disabled, it was just a matter of time before I became introduced to wheelchair basketball [and adaptive sports].”

As a woman with a disability—even one who’s won gold for her athletic ability—Nichols is used to stigma. “I had to shift my mindset from society’s attitude towards people with disabilities that we’re less than,” she says. But not even her gold medals have inoculated her against the stigmas attached to her next challenge: motherhood as a disabled woman.

A mother in a wheelchair can still take her child for a walk, to playdates, to the park and catch them at the bottom of a slide—but many people seem to believe that because of the limitations those with physical disabilities have, they might be unfit moms. “I travel the world in a wheelchair and ski at 70 miles per hour: How am I not going to be a parent?” she says. If anything, it’s the parenting community that has limitations: Something as simple as the way cribs are designed is restrictive to women who can’t stand to pick their baby up from above.

After she was paralyzed, Nichols spent years familiarizing herself with and learning how to move within her body. And as a professional athlete, she trained just as hard—if not harder—than her able-bodied counterparts, learning to overcome every unexpected challenge her body threw at her. “Parenting is about overcoming each challenge as it’s presented, and we’re kind of masters at that as adaptive athletes. You can’t imagine how you’re going to do it: You just have to go and do it,” she says. “That brings me a lot of solace as a pregnant woman knowing that there’s no way to know how I’ll figure out how to parent, but I will. Instead of deciding what I can and can’t do, how about just being open-minded to the possibilities.”

Gianluca Russo is a New York-based freelance writer published in GQ, Teen Vogue, NYLON and more. Follow him @g_russo1.

Us Box Office: Jordan Peele Horror Dethrones Captain Marvel In Massive Debut

Lupita Nyong'o in Jordan Peele horror film Us

Daaaaaamn, Jordan Peele. We knew Us would make a lot of money — much more than the initial projections from $38 million to $48 million — but Us‘ opening weekend nearly doubled that. It made $70.2 million from March 22-24, which is literally double what Captain Marvel made this week in its third time on the chart. This is the first time Captain Marvel has been dethroned at #1, after its own better-than-expected debut.

Us has set all kinds of records, and we’ll get to that and more, but first check out the full top 10 domestic box office chart:

Us tops the weekend box office for the first time
1. Us*

$70,250,000 Total: $70,250,000

LW: N

THTRS: 3,741

2. Captain Marvel

$35,021,000 Total: $321,498,835

LW: 1

THTRS: 4,278

3. Wonder Park

$9,000,000 Total: $29,477,304

LW: 2

THTRS: 3,838

4. Five Feet Apart $8,750,000 Total: $26,461,064

LW: 3

THTRS: 2,866

5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

$6,533,000 Total: $145,752,630

LW: 4

THTRS: 3,347

6. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

$4,500,000 Total: $65,881,232

LW: 5

THTRS: 2,187

7. Gloria Bell

$1,802,500 Total: $2,498,485

LW: 18

THTRS: 654

8. No Manches Frida 2 $1,780,000 Total: $6,626,279

LW: 6

THTRS: 472

9. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

$1,125,000 Total: $103,328,550

LW: 8

THTRS: 1,389

10. Alita: Battle Angel

$1,015,000 Total: $83,748,050

LW: 9

THTRS: 1,439

Us set a new record for an original horror movie, easily passing A Quiet Place‘s $50 million debut. It marked the third best horror opening of all time behind It and Halloween. Also — and this is pretty cool — it’s the best opening for an original live-action movie since Avatar in 2009, per Deadline. Huzzah for original films!

Us demolished the $33 million opening of Jordan Peele’e previous hit, the 2017 film Get Out. That movie won Jordan Peele the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. It was a tough act to follow, but it also added more anticipation for this film, which must’ve contributed to the huge opening box office. Plus, no one likes to be spoiled, so many fans rushed to theaters to see what happened in Us before someone spoiled it for them online. (If you’re still confused on exactly what happened, here’s help.)

Very strong reviews are also known to help at the box office, although fans don’t seem to be quite as fond of Us as the critics. The movie currently has a 94% fresh rating from critics but only 69% from RT users, and a “B” CinemaScore from moviegoers polled on opening night.

Us winning doesn’t really mean Captain Marvel loses. The MCU movie did see a drop of -48.5% this week (and a loss of 32 screens), but those chart numbers are just from the domestic box office. Captain Marvel currently has a worldwide total of $910,298,835, and it’s expected to hit $1 billion later this week. One billion dollars within a month of release? Not too shabby.

Most of the chart order above looks the same as last week’s figures from Box Office Mojo. There are some changes, though, like the arrival of Gloria Bell in the top 10. Julianne Moore’s movie added 615 screens, putting it up to 654, giving it a box office boost of +394.5% over last week.

Other that that, this weekend pushed How to Train Your Dragon 3 very close to $500M worldwide — it’s currently at $488M — and Alita: Battle Angel is barely a hair under $400M with a current worldwide gross of $399,866,842. The total may be above $400M by the time you read this, depending on how much still comes in from the impressive foreign box office. But the question remains on whether it can reach $500 million, which seems to be the benchmark people are looking at for profit/sequels.

At any rate, Us should enjoy #1 while it can, because next weekend we have Dumbo and then it’s Shazam! time. And in just over one month, Avengers: Endgame will arrive to show every film how box office winning is done. Keep up with everything headed to theaters in busy 2019 with our handy movie schedule.

Did you predict a $70 million opening for Us? If so, now’s the perfect time to brag in the comments below. (No one will believe you without proof, but that’s fine.)

Blended From Around The Web

 

Jennifer Lopez Confirms What We All Know, Says A-Rod Is the Ultimate Instagram Husband

If you’re looking to find the perfect inspiration to showcase your Instagram-official relationship, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez—masters of the art form—have some advice.

The newly engaged pair have diligently documented their entire romance on Instagram, straight from the moment they went public. From vacations to events, product launches, and even their engagement, it’s all up there for the world to see. And, according to Lopez, it’s all thanks to A-Rod’s hard work as an Instagram (future) husband.

“He loves taking pictures and documenting the moment,” Lopez shared with People. Rodriguez echoed his fiance’s statement, adding that he’s more than happy to photograph and share their every move—especially now that he’s retired from baseball.

“I don’t have to play 162 games anymore, so I have a lot time on my hands,” he said. “I like to have fun.”

But, let’s be real, it’s not like A-Rod developed these Insta skills on his own: He happily admitted that he receives a little bit of advice from his daughters Natasha, 14, and Ella, 10, on exactly how to capture a moment for social media the best way.

“My coaches are my girls—they’re my biggest critics,” Rodriguez said. “I know immediately if I posted something dorky, because both of the girls start blowing me up. They’re like, ‘Dad take that down, we’re teenagers. We’re going to be ragged on at school.’ We have fun with it, but they know best because that’s more their strength.”

Of course, the relationship between J.Lo and A-Rod is a symbiotic one. Although Rodriguez has lent even more shine to his future wife’s Insta game, she’s returned the favor by helping him with his own (more literal) style.

“Jennifer has taught me that it’s less about what you wear and more about the fit,” Rodriguez told People. And you can definitely tell—after all, this couple is basically famous for dressing in adorably coordinated outfits.

But in the end, the duo noted that it’s really about getting to do things together, as a couple.

“Everything that we do, we do together,” Lopez said. “We’re constantly supporting each other in our individual endeavors and then we’re thinking about all the things that we can build together. He knows my dreams and I know his dreams, and together we feel like we’re stronger. He is my biggest collaborator and my biggest supporter.”