A-Rod Got Jennifer Lopez A Stripper Cake To Celebrate Hustlers

In the theater, a bouquet of flowers is often given to an actress following a performance as a sign of congratulations. But movies are not plays and Hustlers is not The Phantom of the Opera, so it demands something different, something special and that’s exactly what Alex Rodriguez delivered for his fiancée. A-Rod got Jennifer Lopez a stripper cake to celebrate the release of her new film Hustlers. Check it out:

Flowers are nice, but A-Rod really went above and beyond to congratulate Jennifer Lopez on Hustlers. The actress shared clips of the former baseball star’s thoughtful gift to her Instagram story, showing off an elaborate cake that fits the occasion perfectly. Hustlers is a movie about a group of strippers who turn the tables on their Wall Street clients and so, A-Rod got J.Lo a stripper cake, as is appropriate.

This purple and pink cake has it all, a pole, silhouettes of dancing strippers, glitter and even edible cash. You’ll notice they aren’t singles either like you might expect to find at an actual strip club, A-Rod has money, he can spring for the edible $100s. And lest you think this is a stock cake that you can just buy at your local supermarket, it’s customized, wishing J.Lo congratulations on her movie and displaying the title.

It honestly looks like the kind of ultra-fancy custom cakes that you’d find at a wrap party for a big production, but this cake was just a gift from Alex Rodriguez to honor his future wife’s big movie. Since I’m assuming he didn’t bake it himself, unless his talents extend well beyond the baseball realm, I’m guessing he had a cake shop make it for him special.

How does that conversation go? ‘Hi, I’d like to order your finest stripper cake please.’ ‘Umm, you mean where the stripper pops out of the cake? We don’t really do that kind of thing here.’

Eating strip club food might be a dicey proposition, but I don’t think this cake strives for that level of authenticity because it looks like it probably tastes as good as it looks. In addition to the cake, A-Rod also surprised J.Lo with some frosted cake lollipops. The actress got into insane shape for Hustlers and that probably meant abstaining from this kind of food, so she must be thrilled to get to actually get to eat this cake.

In her Instagram Story video, a grateful Jennifer Lopez also showed off a note from A-Rod congratulating her on the movie and those congratulations are certainly in order. Hustlers didn’t beat IT Chapter Two in its opening weekend, but it did open above expectations to $33.23 million. The reviews have also been hugely positive, with a lot of praise going to Jennifer Lopez’s performance in particular.

Hustlers is now in theaters. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the other big movies headed your way this fall.

What Was Julia Stiles Up To Between 10 Things I Hate About You And Hustlers?

Julia Stiles in Hustlers

Hustlers has finally arrived in theaters, and is managing to make money at the box office while also being a critical hit. Lorene Scafaria’s dramedy had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, debuting a story based off a real-life article from New York Magazine. There’s an all-star cast, including former teen movie star Julia Stiles, who plays a journalist covering the strippers’ scam to make money.

Julia Stiles is clearly happy to be part of Hustlers, but also recently lamented the way the film world thought of her as she got older. Stiles is now 38, and recently spoke to the struggle she’s faced as an adult actress, and how studios seemingly didn’t know where to place her. As she put it:

I think a few years ago my frustration was feeling like nobody knew what to do with me. You know, I had had some success in my twenties and now I’m in a different place in my life and I didn’t really fit anywhere.

Despite her long career in film, Julia Stiles hasn’t had an easy go at it over the years. And she believes its her former status as a teen star, making it difficult for directors and producers to see her as an adult woman. At least, according to her comments to The Daily Beast.

But Julia Stiles has worked quite a bit since becoming a star in 10 Things I Hate About You, even if her career has had ebbs and flows. Here are some of the biggest projects Stiles did since portraying Katarina Stratford.

Stiles in Save The Last Dance

Save The Last Dance

Save The Last Dance is perhaps Julia Stiles’ most iconic film role after 10 Things I Hate About You. Directed by Thomas Carter, Stiles stars as a young dancer who moved to a inner city following her mother’s death. Stiles went through extensive dance training for the role, and the movie was played consistently on syndication throughout the late 90s and early 2000’s. Also during this point in her career, Stiles acted in two more modern Shakespeare adaptations, Hamlet and O. These movies all came out in a matter of four years, so clearly she was working quite hard at this point.

Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons

The Bourne Identity Franchise

Julia Stiles isn’t usually an actress who is synonymous with franchises, let alone action-heavy ones. But she’s the most recurring character in the Bourne Identity movies, second only to Matt Damon’s title character. Stiles plays Nicky Parsons in four out of five Bourne entries, serving as the franchise’s female lead and one of Jason’s most trusted allies. She debuted in the very first film of the franchise, and the recent sequel Jason Bourne seemingly put an end to her character’s tenure in the property. Still, its a run that lasted over a decade of filmmaking. Between filming the first and second Bourne flicks, Julia Stiles also starred in Mona Lisa Smile and romantic comedy The Prince and Me.

Julia Stiles in The Ome

The Omen 

Julia Stiles dipped her foot into the horror world with the 2006 remake of The Omen. Like the iconic original movie, The Omen follows a young mother (Stiles) who slowly realizes that her son is the anti-christ. The movie allowed Julia Stiles to play a more adult character, albeit still one with her signature wit. This wouldn’t be her first thriller, as she also worked on projects like A Little Trip to Heaven and The Cry of the Owl around this time. Unfortunately, The Omen got some negative reviews when it first hit theaters, ultimately grossing $119.5 million at the box office.

Julia Stiles in Olenna

Oleanna On Broadway

Julia Stiles may have had a hard time getting adult roles, but she’s an actress who is constantly challenging herself with new mediums. This includes a career on the stage, eventually landing on Broadway in 2009. During this time Stiles starred alongside Bill Pullman in David Mamet’s Oleanna. In the acclaimed play, Stiles played a young student who clashes with her Professor (played by Pullman). The two-person show consists entirely of their long conversation, and the tension that rises with each scene. Unfortunately, the Broadway run failed to sell enough tickets, and closed ahead of its original limited runtime.

Julia Stiles as Lumen Pierce

Dexter Season 5

Showtime’s quirky drama Dexter typically had a big guest star for every season, providing a new character for Michael C. Hall’s title character to interact with– one way or another. Julia Stiles had this distinction in the show’s fifth season, which followed Dexter in the wake of a terrible tragedy. Rather than playing a villain, Julia Stiles’ Lumen Pierce was an ally to the serial killer with a code. Together they hunted down and killed the men who tortured and assaulted Lumen, with the season showing Dexter having his first honest relationship with a woman. Stiles ended the show after Season 5 was completed, an Lumen was never seen from again during the following seasons.

Julia as Veronica in Silver Lining's Playbook

Silver Lining’s Playbook

David O. Russell’s Silver Lining’s Playbook was a star-making moment for Jennifer Lawrence, who would eventually win the Oscar for Best Actress that year. But Russell assembled a killer supporting cast to bring the movie to life, including Julia Stiles herself. Stiles played Veronica, the privileged older sister of Lawrence’s protagonist Tiffany. The movie was a major hit, with Stiles able to bring her acting chops to the surface as a supporting player. The cast itself was nominated for a few awards, winning the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast.

Julia Stiles in Blue

Blue

Julia Stiles stepped into the streaming world with the web series Blue. Stiles played the title character of the series, who is a single mother who supports her family as a secret escort. It was a decidedly adult role for the actress, all the more risky since the project wasn’t actually on TV. The series streamed on Youtube and Hulu, and Julia Stiles was even nominated for some awards for leading role in the little known project. The series ran for three seasons, before being put on hiatus.

Julia Stiles in Riviera

Riviera is a TV series starring Julia Stiles as the protagonist, which airs on British paid channel Sky Atlantic. The drama is set on the French Riviera, and follows Stiles’ character Georgina Marjorie Clios as an art curator whose life careens into chaos following her husband’s death. Two seasons have aired thus far, with the show available for American audiences on the channel Ovation. Clearly Julia Stiles has found a home on the small screen over the years, while still appearing in film roles including Hustlers. But given that blockbuster’s success, perhaps we’ll see Stiles in more movies in the future.

Hustlers is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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Black Widow’s David Harbour Explains Red Guardian’s Origin

Red Guardian Marvel Comics

David Harbour’s latest foray into the comic book movie world may not have ultimately turned out well, but the Hellboy actor is bouncing back in a major way when it comes to that genre. Harbour is starring in next year’s Black Widow as Alexei Shostakov, better known to Marvel fans as Red Guardian. If you’re not familiar with the character, don’t worry, as Harbour provided some Red Guardian background, saying:

In the Cold War, the Americans [developed] nuclear weapons and the Russians developed nuclear weapons. The Americans developed Captain America and in response, in retaliation, the Soviets developed the Red Guardian. So, in that way, [Red Guardian] is a foil, you know? He has very complicated feelings about this particular thing. But the Soviet Union fell and a lot of things went down with him, in particular, and now he’s in a different place in his life. It’s a very interesting character. You get to see all of this.

The United States and Soviet Union tried to outdo each other countless times during The Cold War, so it makes sense that a Russian version of Captain America would be created. That said, one can assume that unless David Harbour’s version of Red Guardian was somehow kept on ice for decades like Steve Rogers, he was created towards the end of the Cold War, unlike his comic book counterpart, who was active during World War II. Regardless, once the Soviet Union collapsed, the original plans for Red Guardian fell through, leaving him to embark down a new life path.

David Harbour didn’t provide any specific details about what’s in store for Black Widow while speaking with Variety, but it had previously been revealed that his Red Guardian already has history with Natasha Romanoff when the movie begins, so this will be their first time seeing each other in a while. Remember, before being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Natasha was a KGB operative, so it makes sense that she’d have crossed paths with Red Guardian.

It’s also worth noting that there are six other individuals in the comics who’ve gone by Red Guardian, but it’s unclear if any of those folks folks have held the mantle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or if Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov is the only one. I suspect it’ll be the latter, but maybe we’ll get at least a mention of one of these other people.

In the comics, the Alexei Shostakov Red Guardian has an antagonistic relationship with Black Widow and the Avengers in the comics, so don’t be surprised if David Harbour’s version of the character follows suit in the Black Widow movie. Though if that were to happen, he wouldn’t be the only major Marvel baddie in the movie, as Taskmaster is also showing up. We still don’t know who’s playing him yet, but he’ll also be a force to be reckoned with during Natasha’s solo story.

Set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow follows Natasha Romanoff alone and forced to confront her past. Interestingly enough, she won’t be the movie’s only Black Widow, as Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz will star as Yelena Belova and Melina, respectively, both of whom have held that moniker in the MCU.

O-T Fagbenle will play Mason, one of Natasha’s allies from her S.H.I.E.L.D. days who’s romantically interested in her, and Ray Winstone and Olivier Richters have been cast in undisclosed roles. It’s also been reported that the movie will feature Tony Stark, albeit via recycled Captain America: Civil War footage rather than Robert Downey coming back to reprise the role.

Directed by Cate Shortland, and written by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, Black Widow opens in theaters on May 1, 2020. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage, but in the meantime, find out what other movies are coming in Phase 4 and beyond with our handy guide.

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All Disney Princess Movies, Ranked

All the Disney Princesses from Ralph breaks the Innternet

From the moment that Walt Disney animated its first feature film, Disney and princesses were permanently linked together. From 1937 and 1959 Disney would release three films based around princess characters and during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s we would get five more. Disney continues to release new movies with princesses every now and then.

The Disney Princess is an actual brand name now. It’s an official club with memberships and everything. While Disney has recently seemed to be drawing less attention to the concept of a Disney Princess, they’re still quite popular with fans.

But just which Disney Princess movie is the best?? I decided to take a look at all of Disney’s animated princess films and rank the efforts, considering the princesses the flicks introduce and how good the movie is as a whole.  This isn’t about which is the best Disney Princess, simply which movie that contains a princess is the best. Let’s dive in and figure it out.

Pocahontas

13. Pocahontas

Pocahontas is unique among the Disney Princess movies for being the only one based on an actual person rather than a classic fairy tale or an original concept. While this was an intriguing idea, in practice, we can see why Disney hasn’t gone down this road again. Disney-fying a well known fictional story is one thing, doing it to an actual person is something else.

Pretty much everything in Pocahontas is forgettable. The villain is generic. Most of the music isn’t memorable. Pocahontas herself isn’t a bad character, but the story surrounding her is simplistic. It’s Disney’s Dances with Wolves, and that’s not a compliment.

Cinderella

12. Cinderella

Cinderella was Disney’s second princess movie, hitting theaters in 1950. If there’s a single princess that is the Disney Princess it might be Cinderella. Her castle stands in the middle of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the story itself may be the best known of all western fairy tales. Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother get her due as one of the nastiest Disney villains in history. The movie even has a nice twist at the very end which audiences in 1950 likely didn’t see coming.

However, all that I just described is maybe half of the runtime of Disney’s Cinderella. A lot of the movie is dedicated to the family cat’s attempts to catch Cinderella’s mouse friends. If these were animated shorts they’d be cute, but they take the focus of Cinderella away from the characters we’re supposed to care about for far too long; because of this, the flick ranks lower than you might guess.

Brave still of merida's hair and bow

11. Brave

Merida from Brave is the one Disney Princess who was never in a movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios. However, she is still considered a part of the Disney Princess crew, at least for marketing purposes. Merida is Pixar’s only princess to date, but she’s a pretty significant representative.

Brave suffers a bit from the fact that Merida’s want/need dynamic never changes over the course of the story. It’s unclear how much she truly changes, which makes for a somewhat unsatisfying character arc. However, what does happen that causes growth for Merida is a deep understanding of her mother that wasn’t there before, and that’s certainly a story worth telling and a message worth embracing.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

10. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an iconic film and one of the most important movies of the 20th century. It launched Disney’s feature animation division with a movie that shocked the public simply for existing. It will forever be an important part of film history.

Yet, while Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has some great music and the Wicked Queen was apparently so legitimately terrifying for little kids that things had a tendency to get messy in the theaters, this movie also is only of middling rank. That’s because Snow White isn’t the most exciting main character in Disney history, although the seven dwarfs that surround her do a great job to make up for that.

The Princess and the frog kiss scene

9. The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog is the last traditionally animated movie Disney ever made. The fact the movie wasn’t a box office draw was the major reason this form of animation is essentially dead. And it’s all too bad, because The Princess and the Frog is actually a really good movie.

Tiana is up there with CInderella as the hardest working woman in a Disney Princess movie. The jazz soundtrack is top notch. Dr. Facilier is one of the most underrated Disney villains. Plus, yeah, the loss of hand-drawn animation is a travesty and this movie is evidence of that.

Tangled famous lantern scene

8. Tangled

Tangled is a personal favorite of mine. It’s got pretty much everything you want from an animated Disney movie. It’s funny, it’s got action, it’s got romance. Really, what else do you need? The animation on Rapunzel’s hair is worth checking out Tangled for the technical mastery alone, and while you’re at it, enjoy the smolder.

Most Disney villains have magical powers they use to exert their will. Tangled‘s Mother Gothel is so much worse than any of that. Her only ability is to be able to psychologically manipulate Rapunzel, in the way that only the worst sort of mother can. Tangled also has the best modern love song in all of Disney. So, yes, it has a lot going for it, but it’s not as classic as some other titles.

The Little Mermaid

7. The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was Disney’s first princess movie in 30 years. By modern standards, Ariel is maybe still a bit “classic” in her sensibilities, but for 1989 she was a breath of fresh air. This was the movie that launched the Disney Renaissance in animation and proved that Disney still had a lot to offer the medium that made the studio a household name.

It’s easy to see why The Little Mermaid was so successful. Ariel is easy to love, the soundtrack is one of the best that Disney produced. The ending leaves a little something to be desired, though. Ariel doesn’t really grow as a character in any meaningful way, but when you’ve fallen in love with her dream, it’s hard to want her to get anything less.

Jasmine and Rajah in Aladdin

6. Aladdin

Jasmine is an official Disney Princess, and so her movie will be on this list, even is the movie itself isn’t truly about her. While Jasmine may not be the focus of the film, there’s no denying that Aladdin is an excellent film.

You can’t talk about Aladdin without talking about Robin Williams. His Genie is what makes Aladdin. Without question this is the funniest movie on this list for him alone. On top of that you have great music and an exciting adventure featuring a princess, combining into a near perfect movie.

Sleeping Beauty ranks high

5. Sleeping Beauty

The third of Disney’s classic princesses movies shows everything that Disney had learned about animation up to that point in a near perfect way. The art style, which combines Art Deco elements and classic medieval art, gives Sleeping Beauty a look no other Disney film had before or has had since.

Aurora falls somewhat into the Snow White trap of mostly being the victim of a plot that she takes no active part in. The bickering fairies also have a tendency to be more annoying than entertaining. However, in the end, Sleeping Beauty does have one of the most memorable antagonists in film history, along with an action-packed finale and a truly beautiful look. It’s enough to shift it into the fifth slot.

Mulan

4. Mulan

Mulan is unique among the Disney Princesses because she’s not technically a princess. She is neither of royal blood, nor does she marry anybody who is. However, according to the rules of being a Disney Princess (yes there are rules for this), you can also become one if you perform an act of heroism and Mulan certainly did that.

Mulan is Disney’s action hero movie among the princess titles and that, along with its Chinese history, puts it in a class very much by itself. Mulan is possibly the most proactive princess of the lot which makes for a character that you truly root for. Eddie Murphy’s comedic sidekick is no Genie, but he’s truly funny. The upcoming live-action adaptation of this one is going to have its work cut out for it.

Frozen

3. Frozen

Yes, we all know just how popular Frozen is. We’ve all heard “Let it Go” more times than we can count, and if you have kids you’re probably still listening to it, but there’s a reason for the film’s insane popularity. It’s actually that good.

In Frozen, Disney made a film that is both a welcome addition to its history of princess movies, while also making a conscious concession to the way those earlier films have become, a bit more complicated, over time. It’s a perfect balancing act. There’s a reason these princesses — and yes, there are two — are the first to ever get a full animated theatrical sequel.

moana

2. Moana

In her movie, Moana claims she’s not a princess, but as Maui so succinctly puts it, if you wear and a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess. Moana is the daughter of the chief, and that basically makes her a princess. Most fans would certainly agree.

As the modern Disney princess movies go, it’s hard to beat Moana. The animation is absolutely beautiful. The movie’s backgrounds are lush and beautiful, the ocean feels as wide here as it does in reality. Moana as a character is more complex than your average princess, truly torn between her duties and her desires, making her more compelling, and her adventure is one of the most purely exciting. Add to that the best modern Disney soundtrack, and you have a big winner.

Beauty and the Beast

1. Beauty and the Beast

What else is there that can be said about the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards? The movie is near perfection. beautifully drawn using the best techniques of both traditional animation and computers, and some of the most memorable songs that Disney, a studio known for music as much as animation, ever created. There’s a reason that the live-action remake was too scared to make too many changes to this one.

While the remake may not have changed much, there’s no replacing the original. Belle has all the grace of a classic Disney Princess, while having an energy and a drive that is unique to her. Beauty and the Beast is one of the greatest examples of hand drawn animation ever, and the music is without equal. There’s just no topping Beauty and the Beast.

Whether adored for their beauty, their romantic relationships, or their adventures, the Disney Princess is one of the most well-known and popular archetypes in fiction. Most of these characters are so old they’re public domain, but the Disney version has largely replaced any other as the definitive version of these centuries-old characters.

We’re sure to get entirely new Disney Princesses one day, but the ones we’ve seen before will likely never go away. Every one of these women is somebody’s favorite and when it comes to that there’s no wrong answer.

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Jessica Chastain Shares Bonkers Video From IT Chapter Two Press Tour

Jessica Chastain has shared a positively bonkers video from the IT Chapter Two press tour. The actress, who is currently starring as the adult Beverly Marsh in Andy Muschietti’s massive horror sequel, is busy promoting the film, and let’s just say that the press tour process isn’t just about answering a bunch of differently phrased questions. If you want to see some wild and weird stuff, IT Chapter Two is a good option, but in lieu of that, check out the video below.

And Jessica Chastain thought getting completely covered in slimy, uncomfortable blood for the film was a challenge. Little did she know what the IT Chapter Two press tour had in store for her. As you can see, part of the press tour for the movie involved a photo shoot alongside her fellow cast members, and the photographer of said photo shoot was… well, he was a lot.

In the video posted to her Instagram, we see Jessica Chastain looking on as photographer Eric Ray Davidson gives her co-star James McAvoy direction with what can only be described as unbridled, somewhat frightening enthusiasm. It might be a stretch, but he’s almost Pennywise-esque in his intensity and relentlessness, and Jessica Chastain does say that the press tour is the scariest part of promoting the horror film.

Jessica Chastain looks as if she suspects she’s being trolled, like Ashton Kutcher is going to pop up out of nowhere to reveal that this is all a big joke. The best part is the way she, in classic Jim from The Office fashion, constantly looks to the camera filming the video and mouths ‘what’ and ‘wow’ in response to the photographer. She was clearly taken aback by the situation and didn’t really know how to deal with it, and honestly, who would?

James McAvoy, in a display of British composure, takes everything in stride and seems unphased by the caricature-like display going on before him. He follows all the directions of Eric Ray Davidson and even comments on Jessica Chastain’s professionalism working under such extreme duress with someone whose style isn’t perhaps what she is accustomed to.

The other cast members are hilarious here too, with adult Eddie Kaspbrak James Ransone making a Zoolander reference about the proceedings. The best is the end where Eric Ray Davidson asks them to push back on him and the Loser’s club lets fly with the expletives, with Jessica Chastain flipping the double bird at him.

Despite those middle fingers and her general bewilderment in the video, Jessica Chastain makes sure to let Eric Ray Davidson know in her Instagram post that she loved the experience. She also calls him a madman, and while I’m not sure she’s qualified to make that diagnosis, she may very well be on to something.

If you want to see something that may be more or less scary than this video depending on your perspective, IT Chapter Two is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of the movies headed to theaters this fall.

5 Reasons Why Horror Super-Fans Should Check Out Universal’s Hollywood Horror Nights

Ghostbusters Haunted House, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

As the summer blockbuster season wraps up, many movie fans are scrambling to find titles left to look forward to in 2019. But we’re also approaching the time of year when many of us finally start to feel in our element. The leaves are changing, Horror movies are being binged on Netflix and the annual Halloween Horror Nights is kicking off at Universal Studios. I’m talking about All Hallows’ Eve, the wonderful holiday more commonly known as Halloween, and all the scares that come along with it. But not all Horror fans like their fears to get up close and personal. Some prefer to keep the monsters on the big screen. Those people are missing out.

This year, CinemaBlend toured Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida, on their special “R.I.P. Tour”. The event boasts ten haunted houses, five scare zones, two live shows, and immerses thrill-seekers as active participants, putting them right in the middle of it all. Here are five reasons why fans of the Horror genre should get in on the live-action.

Stranger Things Haunted House, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

The Insane Amount of Detail Put Into The Movie/TV-Themed Haunted Houses

The amount of work that goes into Halloween Horror Nights each year is impressive, with a fourteen-month planning schedule for each event. Setting up ten different houses is tough enough by itself, but for the six houses that are based on popular franchises, that workload is increased due to the painstaking detail that goes into each one to make sure they appear accurate to even the most avid movie fan. From the costumes and puppetry to the actual temperature in the room, these houses go all out.

The Stranger Things haunted house includes sections where visitors are taken into the world of the Upside Down, with life-sized demogorgons, “spores” raining down from above, and even Hopper’s cabin, half-destroyed with a bloodthirsty Mindflayer coming through the roof. House of 1000 Corpses starts in Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters & Madmen, journeys into the Firefly Family home (with the entire family running around like maniacs) and even ventures underground to put visitors face-to-face with Dr. Satan himself. Both Us and Ghostbusters include almost every iconic scene superfans could ask for and just when you think you’ve made it out, each end with a final scare that you just can’t get at the theater. The final two movie-inspired houses, Universal Monsters, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space play hard on the nostalgia factor and are sure to delight and terrify classic horror fans.

Yeti: Terror of the Yukon Haunted House, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

The Unique Stories of the Original Haunted Houses

In addition to the six franchise-themed haunted houses, the park also includes four original-concept houses, all with very different yet unsettling storylines. Some are brand new concepts, while others are new spins on classic favorites. All of them are horrifying mashups of classic horror concepts.

First, there’s Nightingales: Blood Pit, an updated story from previous years that combines hints of Gladiator and the monsters from The Village, if not for that big twist. There’s Yeti: Terror of the Yukon, which blasts cold air into the house for an added bone-chilling effect. Next up is Graveyard Games, a modern-day tale of youthful mischief and disturbed spirits. In this scenario, the ghosts are after teens who have vandalized their New Orleans resting place- and the audience is caught right in the middle. The last of these original houses is Depths of Fear, a journey through a deep-sea mining facility under attack by parasitic “Mouthbrooders”. If the rumored Aquaman spinoff The Trench ends up being half as scary as this haunted house, audiences are in store for a wild ride.

Anarch-cade Scare Zone, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

The Scare Zones Throughout The Park

Many of the houses are spread out throughout the park, but luckily the terror isn’t contained solely to the haunted houses. While visitors are walking from house to house, or through the park in general, Universal has five distinct “Scarezones” set up to keep your adrenaline up. Each zone also has its own unique theme, some bloodier than others.

There are two recognizable franchises, Zombieland: Double Tap and Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe, each with their own unmistakable imagery. The three original Scarezones include Anarch-cade, a Purge-esque style area with plenty of neon outfits and chainsaws, Vikings Undead, which fans of the Vikings show are sure to enjoy, and Vanity Ball, an area with formalwear and unsettling disfigurement. The “scareactors” also like to target people strolling through these zones while using their phones, which made live-tweeting the tour a true nightmare, rightfully so.

Universal Monsters Haunted House, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

The Impressive Practical Effects

Each house blends a unique mix of synchronized audio, light, puppetry, and actors to bring these well-rehearsed and choreographed nightmares to life. But unlike in film or television, these houses can’t up the scares in post-production and only have one chance to get it right for each participant, and they boy oh boy, do they deliver.

Many of the houses use recorded audio straight from your favorite horror movie scenes coupled with scareactors playing famous roles for a very immersive experience. The Ghostbusters house includes multiple Slimers, hologram ghosts, library books that move as if controlled by unseen spirits, and all the iconic scenes superfans could hope for. Stranger Things has life-sized Demogorgons popping out around every turn and multiple Mindflayers that put you right in the thick of the madness in Hawkins, Indiana. It’s one thing to see practical effects on the big screen, but it breaks down a huge barrier to have them jump out at you dozens of times.

Halloween Marathon of Mayhem, Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, Florida

The Live Shows

For those who are interested but would still like to remain slightly removed from the action, Halloween Horror Nights also puts on two live shows that are vastly different but equally impressive. These shows aren’t solely focusing on the scare factor, they are using technology and choreography to elevate these shows to a whole new level and leave attendees wanting more.

Academy of Villains: Altered States, a new iteration from the popular dance company, projects a dark, artistic video as a backdrop on a stage full of live performers, with an awesome heavy metal soundtrack to go along with it. This show presents some of the best choreography of the whole event, with performers telling a story while performing unbelievable feats of human strength, precision, and endurance. Not one to be topped on impressive choreography, Halloween Marathon of Mayhem is a laser light show that takes place on/through the fountains of the Universal Lagoon by projecting scenes from horror properties accompanied by an epic soundtrack.

For those still on the fence, I urge you to face your fears. Halloween Horror Nights is now open select nights between September 6th and November 2nd. In the meantime, head on over to our premiere guide to read up on what’s still in store (horror or otherwise) for 2019.

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Sylvester Stallone Says Rambo’s Love, Loneliness, And Vietnam Pain Fuel Last Blood

When movie fans think of the name Rambo, what comes to mind is non-stop action. However, the character of John Rambo was born in a much more complex story. 1982’s First Blood is a movie about a Vietnam vet dealing with the ramifications of returning home and trying to readjust to society following an unpopular war and the new film is going to revisit that in a big way.

After a series of sequels, where the lead character was largely fueled by rage, we’re now gearing up for, what the title tells us is the final adventure for John Rambo. According to Sylvester Stallone, this new movie will see Rambo driven by something quite different. Here, all Rambo is trying to do is avoid being alone.

The last Rambo movie from over 10 years ago saw the character returning to his family’s ranch in Arizona at the end. The trailers for Rambo: Last Blood have shown that he is not alone there, but when one of the women that Rambo is close to is kidnapped by a drug cartel, Rambo is willing to do whatever it takes to help her.

This is what Sylvester Stallone is talking about when he says Rambo is willing to sacrifice himself for somebody he loves. Check out his comments below.

The Rambo movies, at their core, are about a man coming to terms with his role in the Vietnam War. While Sylvester Stallone feels no soldier should feel guilty for what happened there, he admits that Rambo does, and so the man has been dealing with a lot of pain throughout his life as a result.

John Rambo’s pain is a big part of First Blood, the original Rambo movie. The sequels are much more about the military machine continuing to use Rambo for its own purposes, but in Last Blood, we’ll have a fight that John Rambo really chooses to fight.

Sylvester Stallone says that in Last Blood John Rambo has largely found peace, though he still has moments where the war comes back to haunt him. Considering the fact that Stallone himself teases the idea here that Rambo is willing to sacrifice himself, one has to wonder just how John Rambo will ultimately find final peace when Rambo: Last Blood is over.

Why IT Should Have Been A Trilogy, And How That Would’ve Worked

IT Chapter Two The Losers Club standing on the street, post battle

Warning: SPOILERS for IT Chapter Two are in play. If you’re looking to avoid spoilers for the film, head out of this story and come back once you are current with the story.

As we continue to see IT Chapter Two make its play for box office glory, a second weekend on top of the food chain has us still reflecting on how the entire story plays as a whole. Director Andy Muschietti’s two film-adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel, with writer Gary Dauberman along for the ride on both halves, definitely feels fuller than the 1990 miniseries ever did.

However, much like the original Tommy Lee Wallace-helmed TV version, there was still a bit of a battle over what was included, and what would be cut, from the story that makes up IT in its totality. Ultimately, with two films and roughly 5-6 hours of time to tell the story of an over 1000-page doorstop, sacrifices must be made.

But what if they didn’t have to be? What if IT was a trilogy of films and allowed to tell the full story of the novel for the first time? It would have been the better way to go, to be honest, and it could have worked rather well. While we can’t turn back time to change what’s happened in terms of how these films were made, allow us to explain just why IT would have worked better with a third chapter to round things off.

IT Pennywise grinning in the Neibolt Street house

Why IT Should Have Been A Trilogy

Stretching back to when we discussed the problems that IT Chapter Two had with telling its story, the idea of IT being a trilogy has simmered in our minds since mentioning the possibility. And the reasoning to have three movies telling the IT story is based in the same roots the idea to make IT into a theatrical film in the first place: it gives Stephen King’s book more room to breathe.

Jumping from a television miniseries to a major motion picture event was a move designed to allow IT not only to be more intense, but to also work more of the tale into the entire package that would be delivered to audiences. Which makes it all the more surprising that those in charge wouldn’t have thrown off the shackles of the duology structure and gone for the brass ring.

IT works perfectly as a trilogy because not only would there have been more room for The Losers’ Club to be fleshed out to perfection, but the pacing issues of IT Chapter Two could have been avoided. With three films, there’s a perfect thematic and symbolic structure that could have been followed in this tale of childhood trauma. It’s a trilogy that would play out in the following hypothetical manner.

IT The young Losers' Club watches Bill's slideshow

IT Chapter One

Probably the best news about a trilogy structure is that it vindicates the decision made to keep IT solely focused on the Losers Club’s younger years. With that film already keeping the action set in 1988-1989, the foundation for Stephen King’s coming-of-age story starts with its best feet forward.

We got to know the Losers’ personalities rather effectively, saw them come together, and eventually even saw them all take on Pennywise the first time, swearing to get back together if IT ever came back. Everything that was great about IT would have carried over into IT Chapter One, with just some mild changes.

The greatest change to IT Chapter One would be to include all of the “new” flashbacks that IT Chapter Two debuted in its story structure. Richie’s homosexuality, Henry Bowers’ arrest and the underground lair all should have been in play from the beginning, if only because the structure of IT Chapter Two needed them to already exist in order to land their thematic punches.

IT Chapter Two The Losers toast at the Chinese restaurant

IT Chapter Two

This is where the real surgery starts, as IT Chapter Two would still play as a mix of flashbacks and present day action, but in a very different manner. Instead of cramming the return of the now fully grown Losers’ Club in with their final battle against Pennywise, this middle film would be all about crossing that bridge from childhood into adulthood.

As such, the new and improved IT Chapter Two could have lingered a little longer on everyone’s life situations as adults, with more of their lives after Derry coming into focus. James McAvoy’s Bill Denbrough would have benefited from this approach massively, as his wife Audra (Jess Weixler) could be restored to the level of importance she played in the Stephen King variant of the novel.

In turn, that would have also opened the door for Tom Rogan (Will Beinbrink) to also fulfill his plotline from the novel. This would have seen the cliffhanger of IT Chapter Two’s new and improve formula involving Tom’s abduction of Audra in order to lure The Losers’ Club into Pennywise’s den.

With the entire film playing on the theme of overcoming childhood fears, and coming to terms with those earlier years, flashbacks would still play a part in reminding the prodigal children of Derry what had happened and why they needed to come back home. IT’s first two chapters would then wrap up, leading to one final chapter of action to end the story in style.

IT Chapter Two The full Losers' Club lineup, standing in some smoke

IT The Final Chapter

With Stephen King’s characters and plots now firmly established and perfectly teed up, audiences would be ready to see the entire novel come together with IT The Final Chapter. This third film would have mostly focused on taking down Pennywise through the Ritual of Chüd, with some extra time built in for audiences to see more fleshed-out nightmare sequences.

Of course, the last film wouldn’t have to be as long as the first two, as IT The Final Chapter is supposed to be the action packed finale that delivers a pleasing, but adrenaline-fueled conclusion. The rest of the film would be used to tie up the loose ends of The Losers’ Club, allowing them to say their goodbyes and move into their new lives as well-adjusted adults.

The cherry on top would be seeing each member moving forward with their lives, now being able to remember what happened in Derry through the 27 years their story spanned across. That knowledge would spur them all on to move in different, exciting directions, much as we saw with Mike leaving Derry for the first time ever. The big difference being that now we get to see how everyone moves on, and in a slightly more extended context.

IT Chapter Two Pennywise hovers over a flame

How Can The Supercut Fix IT’s Story

While a trilogy is off the table, there’s an option that might make all of the difference when it comes to re-editing IT: the fabled supercut that looks like it’s going to happen after all. As director Andy Muschietti has talked about an entire supercut putting both halves of the story together, the material he’s looking to include in this massive undertaking could serve a similar purpose.

Should the supercut operate as one large, six-hour film, IT can rearrange the flashbacks from IT Chapter Two to become scenes in the IT portion of the film. Then, moving into the second act of the film, those moments can remain as flashbacks in adulthood, if only slightly abbreviated as that knowledge will already be a part of the earlier portion of the film.

Completing the story of the IT supercut would be the final section of the film, where the battle would be won and everything wraps up in an emotionally satisfying way. With some restructuring of the overall story, as well as some of that new material Muschietti is looking to film for the finished product, IT and IT Chapter Two might make up for not having a third entry by following the structure of a trilogy in their combined form.

It’s going to probably be a while before the two halves of IT and IT Chapter Two are made into one cohesive whole. Even in that event, there’s a chance that this adaptation of the story Stephen King [committed to paper in 1986](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_(novel) might still feel a little lacking. Should that be the case, maybe it might be a good idea to film even more additional material, and re-edit the entire series into a three-film opus after all.

IT Chapter Two is in theaters now, with IT available on Digital HD, 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD formats.

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Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow Didn’t Think Battle At Big Rock Would Be Kept Secret

We have a long way to go until Jurassic World 3 hits theaters, but those looking for some dinosaur action got their fix today with the surprising release of the Battle at Big Rock short film from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow. The short, which takes place after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, premiered on television last night before dropping online, all with little advance warning that it was coming. Colin Trevorrow didn’t think the short would actually be kept secret, as he explained:

In this day and age, we are used to hearing about productions through unofficial channels well before we lay eyes on them. It’s practically expected that something will leak, which is why you see many of the biggest productions take such extreme measures to preserve secrecy. But news of Battle at Big Rock only broke within the last week or so and now it is online for everyone to see.

That had to be a pleasant surprise because as Colin Trevorrow told Collider, he never thought Battle at Big Rock would get as far as it did without someone catching wind of it or word getting out about its existence. But things worked out and the secrecy for the short film held. The director attributes this at least in part, to the Irish.

They shot Battle at Big Rock in Ireland last winter and used a grove of Redwoods to stand in for Big Rock National Park, which is supposed to be about 20 miles from the Lockwood Estate in Northern California, where Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ended.

If it was shot in LA things might not have been so clandestine, but apparently the people involved in the production kept tight-lipped about the whole thing. Parts of Game of Thrones were shot in Northern Ireland, so the Irish must have gotten pretty good at keeping production secrets.

Obviously a big part of what may have helped Battle at Big Rock remain a secret is that nobody knew it was coming, so people weren’t out there looking for news about it. The whole thing was a surprise. Talking about where the idea for the short came from and how it came about, Colin Trevorrow said:

Universal gave Colin Trevorrow an opportunity and he jumped on it, diving headfirst into the idea. He teamed with writer Emily Carmichael, who has plenty of experience writing shorts. She also wrote Pacific Rim Uprising and as Colin Trevorrow said, is co-writing Jurassic World 3 with him.

The idea was to give us a taste of what the new ‘Jurassic World’ was like after Fallen Kingdom. When the dinosaurs were set free at the end of that film, there was no going back from it. That created a whole new dynamic that is still evolving and for the dinosaurs, they are in an unfamiliar environment and an unfamiliar time and have to learn to adapt. Because they are no longer confined to a theme park and are out in the wild like any other animal, they are naturally going to eventually run into humans.

Having these dinosaurs run into people that are camping makes perfect sense. The dinosaurs would probably avoid areas like the city and stick to natural environments. For the people, they went camping to get away from the hustle and bustle and get in touch with nature. They just never expected to be up close and personal with nature of the Jurassic variety.

Battle at Big Rock presumably gives us a taste of what we can expect with dinosaurs run amok in Jurassic World 3. That trilogy-capper hits theaters on June 11, 2021. For movies to tide you over until then, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.

New Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Image Has Rey Looking Like A Total Badass

We’re coming up on a very exciting time in the Star Wars franchise, as this December marks the long-awaited release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams’ second blockbuster set in the galaxy far, far away will wrap up the current trilogy, as well as the nine-film Skywalker Saga that began back with A New Hope. Moviegoers are eager to see how the characters’ stories are completed, especially Force Sensitive hero Rey (Daisy Ridley). Luckily, a new photo of Rey in Episode IX was just released.

Rey has already had a fascinating story in the Star Wars franchise, going from a junket on Jakku to the new hope for the galaxy. While her beliefs in the light side of The Force have been steadfast up until The Last Jedi, marketing material for The Rise of Skywalker revealed she may be tempted by The Dark Side, as a vision of Rey with a double sided red lightsaber was shown. But a newly released photo gives a more hopeful image, check it out below.

Rey is looking like a Jedi Knight badass in this new photo, shown having grown quite comfortable with her lightsaber. There’s been a considerable time jump between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, and her abilities have likely grown quite a bit as she continued to fight for The Resistance.

This new image comes to us from the official Star Wars Twitter page, and does a good job at not actually revealing anything about the highly anticipated movie’s contents. We simply see Rey with her signature blue lightsaber, presumably after she fixed it following its The Last Jedi destruction. She’s determined and ready for action, and seemingly doesn’t have the small cape we saw her in The Rise of Skywalker‘s trailer.

Star Wars fans will likely be especially excited to see how Rey is holding her lightsaber in this new Episode IX image. She’s wielding it from the back, in the way Ahsoka Tano did during the Clone Wars animated series. The community has been eagerly waiting for Ahsoka to be adapted into live-action, but this nod is a great way to acknowledge the animated Jedi’s existence in the greater canon.

Rey’s fate is one of the biggest questions set to follow Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker‘s upcoming release. The vision of Dark Rey with her lightsaber basically broke the internet when it was revealed, and even Daisy Ridley was surprised to see the footage debut. Up until this point, Rey signified the future of the Jedi Order, and the hope that would inspire The Resistance following Luke’s death. So turning to the Dark Side would be a major plot twist that no one saw coming.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.