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Shazam! Reviews Are In, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

Zachary Levi as Shazam! DC

Charge up your weekend with the power of fresh Shazam! reviews. Critics are now free to move about the internet cabin, posting their full thoughts on DC’s latest movie. Previous to this point, we saw some positive soundbite reactions on social media, but this is where you get the full context — and often some scores/grades.

CinemaBlend‘s Sean O’Connell gave the film 4 out of 5 stars. He raved about the casting of Zachary Levi as Shazam! but did mention the smaller scale compared to past DCEU movies, including lower stakes with Shazam!‘s villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong):

Like Aquaman and Wonder Woman before it, Shazam! benefits tremendously from being allowed to operate outside of the DC Universe, while also acknowledging that it exists alongside movies like Man of Steel and Justice League. In comparison to those efforts, however, Shazam! can actually feel small. The stakes of the plot are relatively low, with Sivana being a threat to our hero but less of a danger to the world at large. Where Aquaman was intentionally epic in scope, Shazam! always maintains the feel of a neighborhood story, for better and for worse.

IGN‘s Jim Vejvoda noted that Wonder Woman and Aquaman bore the heavy weight of expectations, which was not a burden Shazam! had to carry. So it was able to be as carefree as a child and just have fun:

Shazam! is a DC’s most joyful and sweet movie since the days of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, a funny yet earnest coming-of-age story about a boy who learns that, well, with great power comes great responsibility. So obviously, Shazam! doesn’t reinvent the superhero movie, but it’s an undeniably fun time that left me wanting more big-screen adventures with these charming characters.

USA Today‘s Brian Truitt said Shazam! was probably the closest DC film yet to one of Marvel’s projects, complete with a Spider-Man-esque lesson on “with great power comes great responsibility”:

But, really, the high-flying showdowns and the holiday-themed action-packed finale (which is highly satisfying, though it goes on a bit too long) are secondary. “Shazam!” works because of its emphasis on friendship and family: Mrs. Vasquez has a bumper sticker that reads “I’m a foster mom: What’s your superpower?” that sums up the film’s overall warm-hug vibe.

Hugh Armitage of DigitalSpy gave Shazam! four out of five stars, calling the “delightful” film DC’s slickest and funniest movie yet. However, he echoed the note that the finale goes on a bit too long:

Best known for his horror movies, director David F Sandberg nevertheless brings flawless comic timing to Shazam!, while the movie also delivers a likeable message about the value of family, friendship and teamwork. Our greatest criticism is that the finale drags on longer than it needs to, but Shazam! is so much fun that it’s a minor complaint.

Hoai-Tran Bui of /FILM gave Shazam! 8.5 stars out of 10, echoing the pacing issues, but also praising the pleasant surprise that Shazam! is more like a kid adventure than a superhero origin movie:

A raucous, charming kid adventure that is a delight to behold from start to finish, Shazam! feels like a throwback both to ’80s comedies and to the superhero movies of the early 2000s, with abundant callbacks to both genres. But rather than playing like an appeal to nostalgia, Shazam! is more of a spiritual throwback that captures the sincerity and silliness inherent in the superhero genre, while delivering a heartfelt story about the power of found families.

Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press gave the movie 3.5/4 stars, pointing out some of the flaws while emphasizing that they don’t detract from the overall experience:

OK, so it’s basically Big with superheroes and villains instead of businesspeople and girlfriends, but director David F. Sandberg has infused his film with so much heart and charm that it hardly matters. Even the deficiencies, like the sluggish beginning and the random, ridiculous villains, fade away under a haze of goodwill because unlike so many big spectacle action pics with sequels in mind, Shazam! actually sticks the landing.

Todd Gilchrist of Birth.Movies.Death was more critical, saying DC’s movie needed more adult guidance:

Conversely, I’m not sure if Shazam! is the exact superhero movie that a kid would make for him or herself, or it’s a perfect encapsulation of studio groupthink trying to anticipate what that imaginary kid wants. Unfocused, noisy and way, way too chatty, director David Sandberg’s adaptation of the DC character supplies plenty of routine superhero theatrics and “when I grow up” wish fulfillment, but its eagerness to explore the notion of family at the expense of real character development – and the seeming absence of adult guidance both on and off screen – delivers far too little in the way of true inspiration.

However, he also wrote it was almost disappointing that Shazam! won’t be crossing over with Justice League in the near future, since the character brings a childlike sense of wonder and fun to the DCEU.

Overall, the reviews still sound quite positive. Since the embargo for Shazam! just dropped, we’ll have to wait a bit to see the full picture on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s currently at 97% from 32 reviews. The CinemaScore from moviegoers won’t show up until opening night.

In terms of how much Shazam! might make after its April 5 opening? Well, you know projections are often wrong. Many thought Captain Marvel was going to open to “only” $100 million and it made a lot more than that on its way toward The Billion Dollar Club.

At this point, early tracking suggests Shazam! will open anywhere from $40 million to $50 million in the first weekend of April. It’s not expected to reach the lofty heights of the DCEU’s Aquaman, but the reviews have been positive and it looks like a good time. What more do you want? Besides a lot of money so they can justify more movies?

Shazam! opens in theaters April 5 as one of the many movies heading to the big screen that month, and in the rest of 2019.

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Selena Gomez Just Threw Her Friend an Incredible Birthday Party

It’s fair to say that Selena Gomez has this whole party-planning thing on lock: Earlier this year, in January, she threw her best friend a gorgeous bridal shower—and let’s not forget the amazing party she threw herself last year that she invited her best friends to, complete with pasta and a yacht (what more do you need, truly?). What the best part is, though, isn’t the all-out affairs, but the fact that no matter how famous she gets, she always comes back to celebrate her best friends’ milestones. And now, she’s gone and thrown another friend a birthday celebration to remember, judging by the pictures alone. Honestly, it’s enough to make us wish we were there.

The lucky birthday girl? Raquelle Stevens, who’s been friends with Gomez for seven years. Luckily, she and plenty of the other party invitees captured the festivities—and the next best thing to attending, of course, is being able to see what went down.

Stevens posted this adorable shot from the party:

She also posted this gallery, which doesn’t feature Gomez, but we’ll let it slide (maybe the singer was taking the pictures):

Stevens also posted an adorable cake pic (the most important part):

Meanwhile, other pictures—and Gomez sightings—were captured on the singer’s fan accounts….

…including the crowd serenading the birthday girl…

…and some adorable puppy snuggles.

Alicia Medici, one of the squad members, also posted a cute snap of all the party guests together:

It’s nice to see that Gomez, as busy as she is, still carves out this time for her best friends—and although the singer isn’t currently on social media (she’s taking a little time off of it), it’s pretty great that we’ve still be able to get a little sneak peek of all the fun she’s been able to have. In the meantime, we’re thinking that maybe Gomez should seriously start considering a party-planning business?

Paul Rudd Talks Stan Lee And Never Aging During Clueless Cast Reunion Panel

The cast of Clueless just reunited for a panel at Chicago’s C2E2 expo. Ant-Man star Paul Rudd (Josh) ended up a main attraction, after he arrived a little bit late, sitting next to Clueless co-stars Alicia Silverstone (Cher Horowitz), Breckin Meyer (Travis Birkenstock), and Donald Faison (Murray).

During the panel, Paul Rudd was asked about the recent death of Stan Lee, and told a wonderful story. Rudd was also asked about his his own lack of aging, and had a great response.

Clueless came out in 1995, and it has become a running joke that Paul Rudd — who will turn 50 on April 6, yes, 50! — simply does not age. During the panel, he was asked his secret. Here’s his classic answer, with backup from Breckin Meyer:

As IF the rest of the cast has aged much in the past 24 years either.

Thanks to C2E2 fans for tweeting out the responses so the rest of us can follow along from far. This next one is great, with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd talking about “the real thrill” of meeting and working with Marvel icon Stan Lee for his cameo:

Paul Rudd’s story continued, and you can watch in a fan’s full video below. Rudd said Stan Lee was excited to see his vision of Ant-Man from the comic book finally play out on screen.

Very sweet. Since it was a Clueless panel, they did talk some Clueless. @ClareKramer was there with some great live feed Q&A reactions. Here’s one funny exchange:

Of course, Paul Rudd was partly a focus of attention because there’s so much hype for Avengers: Endgame, and he seems to be a major player in what happens. Ant-Man and the Wasp ended up a key bridge between Infinity War and Endgame with the Quantum Realm factor, and we’ll have to see how it all plays out when Endgame opens April 26. That hugely anticipated movie is just one of the many titles heading to the big screen in 2019.

Apparently Netflix Promoted A New Jurassic World Spinoff Too Early

Netflix’s algorithm is a funny thing: Between its random sub-genre recommendations such as “absurd opposites-attract comedies” and “dark revenge sci-fi & fantasy,” you never know what you’re going to discover while scrolling through the streaming service. Recently, a couple of subscribers noticed a potentially unannounced Jurassic World title while they were in the mood for watching some dinosaur movie goodness. Take a look:

As you can see in the recent tweet from @nsjstuff, the title Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous came up on his search results. According to MovieWeb, after he tweeted this out, fans did some digging and found that Universal had filed three trademarks for this title on entertainment, toys and games in December 2018. While the project has not been officially announced, the studio does already have ties with Netflix and has discussed plans to create more programming around the blockbuster properties.

Netflix has already collaborated with the studio in the past for LEGO Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape, so another project about the Universal property with this newly revealed title is likely on the way as well. The studios also have a Netflix Fast & Furious animated series centering on the adventures of Tony Torretto — teenage son of Vin Diesel’s Dom — coming later this year called Fast & Furious: Spy Racers.

Universal’s animation studio has additionally worked with the streaming giant in the past to release a children’s television show based on their highly-successful How To Train Your Dragon franchise. The studios’ previous dealings lead us to believe the upcoming Jurassic World title will also be an animated series or film targeted to a younger audience. Perhaps about a summer camp at the problematic park getting out of hand?

If you look up “Jurassic” on Netflix now, as I just did, the upcoming title no longer appears. Looks like the streaming giant realized its mistake and took down the title from showing up. Maybe Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is still in early development and not ready to be announced by the studios.

This information does show that Netflix and Universal are in fact working together to create more content about the famous dino park that has sprung a $5 billion global grossing franchise since Steven Spielberg’s classic debuted in 1993.

Here’s How Much Meghan Markle Has Spent on Her Maternity Wardrobe

Following Meghan Markle’s maternity wardrobe has been one of the best parts of her first royal pregnancy (for us, anyway), but all the looks she’s serving up don’t exactly come cheap. And hey, we’re not judging; it’s not like royalty is going to swing by H&M for their essentials. Now, the numbers are in: One blog has totaled up how much they estimate she’s spent on her maternity clothing since she became pregnant, and safe to say, it’s a lot.

According to Love the Sales‘ research, Markle has spent more than $500,000 on her maternity outfits so far, which is no insignificant figure. But as the site’s fashion editor told MarieClaire.com, Markle—given her Hollywood background, is pretty used to designer clothing that she bought with the money she earned from Suits. (Kate, she explains, comes from a little more low-key background, which meant she was wearing more pieces from “understated brands”.) Of course, keep in mind that royals don’t accept free clothes from brands, so all of this is reportedly coming from Prince Charles’ income, believed to be around $28 million.

Love the Sales also shared more interesting tidbits, including that her most-“liked” dress was the black Givenchy gown she wore when she had that two-handed cradle-the-bump moment that weirdly freaked the Internet out.

And you can bet that the “Meghan Markle Effect,” as the spike in searches and sales for a brand or piece after she wears it has come to be called, is real. According to the site, there was a 5,800 percent and 3,900 percent surge in searches for Karen Gee and Outland Denim after she wore them. (And she’s reportedly her own stylist, too.)

Markle’s wardrobe has reportedly been comparatively expensive compared to the rest of the royal women, and to be honest, it makes sense: She’s a newcomer to that royal life, so she’s basically building a wardrobe the way some of us had to outfit ourselves for our first job, just on a much larger (and more designer-filled) scale. In 2018, the blog UFO No More totaled up how much they thought the royal women had spent on their wardrobes, and Markle took the grand prize with purchases thought to total around $508,000 (Middleton, by contrast, was thought to have spent around $85,000). That means that, yep, she’s spent as much on maternity clothes she’ll wear until the baby comes—and now we see why Middleton breaks out so many great re-wears when she’s getting ready to have another mini-royal.

It’s not long until we get to meet Baby Sussex, who’s expected around late April or early May—until then, we’ll enjoy the last days of following Markle’s fantastic maternity wardrobe.

The Hellboy Reboot Producers Already Have Ideas For Sequels

Next month, a brand-new take on Hellboy will be hitting theaters. Unlike Guillermo del Toro’s version, the 2019 Hellboy takes a bit more direct inspiration from the comics and takes several cues from a storyline called The Wild Hunt. Hellboy has some stiff competition in April, but should the film do well enough, producer Lloyd Levin said that there are already a couple sequel ideas mapped out, but not in any way that’s set in stone.

In the new film, Hellboy (David Harbour) takes a trip over to Great Britain to battle the Blood Witch Nimue (Milla Jovovich). The story involves everything from dragons to undead armies to Excalibur to flaming crowns. Most of these were elements in a comic book storyline called The Wild Hunt, which serves as partial inspiration for the reboot.

As such, there’s some direction to take the story, should Hellboy be greenlit for a sequel. All of it is pretty much right there in the comics written by Mike Mignola, which served as the DNA of the establishing the reboot. So, while there is nothing etched in stone, producer Lloyd Levin told Collider that they have an idea where the story would go in a sequel.

Hellboy doesn’t just take from one aspect of the comics. While there is plenty of The Wild Hunt in there, the story also has Hellboy boxing demons in Tijuana, which is from Hellboy in Mexico. The story also draws from Darkness Falls and The Storm and the Fury, and is more like a collage of stories, according to director Neil Marshall.

According to Levin, Mignola was involved “in the genesis” of the movie. Mignola and fellow Hellboy comic writer Chris Golden even wrote a draft of the script together. To keep things in the spirit of the comics, the movie shot for an R-rating because the comics don’t really get shy when it comes to violence. Per Levin:

You can see a comic book accurate Hellboy in, well, Hellboy, out in theaters on April 12. To learn more about the film, here is what we know so far.

Mark Hamill Loves Driving Disney Execs Crazy With Star Wars: Episode IX Teases

Forty years after Mark Hamill’s first appearance as Luke Skywalker, the actor is reportedly saying his final goodbyes to his iconic role when Star Wars: Episode IX makes its debut in December. Fans have been promised a fulfilling end to the Skywalker Saga but are growing impatient about the silence surrounding the movie thus far. It’s just eight months away; we don’t have a title and where is that damn trailer?

As a Twitter regular, Mark Hamill is always having fun with fans and pulling some Jedi mind tricks every so often to give us something to talk about while we wait (such as getting us emotional about the Han and Luke reunion that never was). He doesn’t mind playing around with the Disney/Lucasfilm studio higher-ups either, since he has little left to lose, as he recently said this on Jimmy Kimmel Live…

There you have it! Stop harassing Mark Hamill, all the answers will come in time! Being sworn to secrecy doesn’t stop the actor from stirring up the Disney executives a little bit, though, because this movie is said to be his last journey as Luke anyway. Jimmy Kimmel did quip that they could cut off his hand – perhaps to save on Luke’s robo arm CGI? Nah, he’ll be fine!

This “no worries” attitude reminds me a bit of Samuel L. Jackson’s approach to his role of Nick Fury in the MCU, which is also subject to tons of secrecy. Jackson recently messed with press and fans by telling them his recent co-star Captain Marvel could time travel, before admitting he had made it up.

Jimmy Kimmel brought up the actor’s most recent joke: the reveal of the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer – which was a literal picture of his trailer on set instead of the highly-anticipated first look at the holiday release. Hamill talked about his kids’ reactions to his clever social media post with these words:

While the post certainly incited the same kind of “har har har” laughs fans might give to jokes from their dads, it’s nice to see the actor have fun with the fans and tease their excitement a bit.

John Wick’s National Puppy Day Trailer Shoots Right To The Heart

It’s National Puppy Day 2019, which is basically a John Wick holiday. So the account for the upcoming movie John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum issued a new trailer – rated GB for Good Boy – re-cutting scenes from the franchise to focus on the tender love story between a man and his dogs.

Sniff. I love that the preview was “approved for dog enthusiasts everywhere” and warned of “some intense barking.” The trailer, with its soft piano music, told “A tale of two strays finding their way. A story of friendship that knows no bounds.”

You’d never know the scenes came from three films about an assassin getting revenge.

John Wick started with the death of the former hitman’s wife Helen. Helen had gifted John a Beagle puppy, named Daisy, to help him in his grief. Then Russian gangsters showed up demanding to buy John’s car. Mr. Wick refused to sell, so they caught him off guard at night, knocked him out, stole the car and — deep breath — killed little Daisy. Killing the puppy crossed a red line for John Wick, and he returned to his life of crime to get revenge.

John Wick also got himself a new puppy at the end of the first movie, adopting a pitbull who would’ve otherwise been put down. Now John Wick and his new dog are on the run, as the third movie — out in theaters May 17 — finds John with a global contract out on his head. In the movie, he reconnects with Halle Berry’s character Sofia, who knew John in the past and has two dogs of her own. Those dogs are basically her action scene sidekicks, so John Wick 3 may turn out to be The Revenge of the Dogs.

Fun fact: Chad Stahelski, who directs these John Wick movies, was Keanu Reeves’ stunt double as Neo in The Matrix movies. That’s how they met, and now here they are, offering puppy videos to the internet on national holidays.

Best 7 Masturbation Tips for Women

Sometimes, masturbation is like scratching an itch—the desire is just there from the getgo. Other times, you have to create that itch. Even on days when you’re not desperately turned on, making time for masturbation has lots of benefits, from helping you explore your sexuality to relieving stress and even improving your health.

How do you take your arousal from 0 to 60, though? We asked the experts for their best masturbation tips for women to help you get your body and mind ready for sex, solo or with a partner.

1. Relax

Mental distractions are an incredibly common mood-killer. Thinking about what you need to grab at the grocery store or emails you need to send can all but destroy your arousal. To help quiet the running list of things to do in your head and get your attention on your body, Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Becoming Cliterate, recommends a relaxing activity, like listening to music.

A bath or shower may be particularly helpful to get you into a sensual mindset, says Astroglide’s resident sexologist Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D.. “Scan your body starting at your feet, taking note of its texture and temperature and working your way up to your face,” she advises. Notice the slip of the soapy water against your skin, the soft heat of the steam on your face. “As you become more mindful of your body, you may find that your interest in self-pleasure increases.”

2. Exercise

You might not think of sweating it out at the gym as a particularly sexy activity let alone one of the experts’ go-to masturbation tips, but getting your blood flowing and your endorphins running “gets you into a more body-focused state,” says Mintz. After a particularly intense workout, take a moment to admire your strength and everything your body can accomplish. Sometimes showing yourself a little emotional self-love leads to showing yourself some physical self-love.

3. Adjust the temperature

Physical discomfort is not exactly a turn-on, so keeping the room at a comfortable temperature will help free you from distractions, says Mintz. Being warm and cozy isn’t just a matter of personal preference may—there’s actually research showing women are more likely to orgasm when wearing socks, potentially because they improve circulation.

4. Block out a special time

The thrill of getting caught may be hot under certain circumstances, but chances are, knowing someone might walk in any minute will be a mood-killer, says Mintz. Block out plenty of time when you won’t be interrupted so that you don’t feel rushed.

5. Watch an erotic video

Contrary to stereotype, research shows that women get very visually aroused, says Mintz. So, one of the easiest ways to turn yourself on is to watch porn. Check out these female-friendly porn sites or your favorite sexy movie scene.

6. Fantasize

Often, the most powerful libido aid is your own mind. “Some people can reach orgasm from fantasy alone,” says O’Reilly. Most women probably need a little more action but fantasies are still incredibly powerful. “As your mind wanders, the desire to touch yourself or turn on your favorite toy may heighten,” says O’Reilly.

7. Just go for it

You don’t necessarily need to be in the mood before you masturbate. Often, experiencing physical pleasure will get you in the mood, says O’Reilly. “Arousal doesn’t always follow desire; sometimes arousal, is what leads to desire,” she explains. “If you like the results of masturbating (e.g. relaxation, a good night’s sleep, pain relief, pleasure) but you’re not in the mood, consider putting yourself in the mood just as you might do with a partner.”