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Matt Singer

Matt Singer is the managing editor and film critic of the website ScreenCrush.com. For five years, he was the on-air host of IFC News on the Independent Film Channel, hosting coverage of film festivals and red carpets around the world. He’s been a frequent contributor to the television shows CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents At the Movies, and his writing has also appeared in print and online at The Village Voice, The Dissolve, and Indiewire.
Sony
Sony
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‘Arrival’ Review: Amy Adams Takes an Emotional Sci-Fi Journey

The 50th anniversary of Star Trek this week really put in perspective just how long we’ve been living with the concept of extraterrestrial. In 2016, there’s something downright familiar about aliens, maybe because in most situations our conception of them remains rooted in our conception of ourselves: They look like us with pointy ears or a ribbed nose, or they don’t look like us, but they behave like us, with motivations and actions that are easily recognizable and understandable. One of Arrival’s greatest achievements is the way it makes alien seem alien again: Strange and inhuman and beyond the limits of our comprehension. It readjusts our thinking about what life on other worlds might be like. And in doing so, it also readjusts our thinking about what life on our world can be like.

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The Accountant
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‘The Accountant’ Review: Action! Romance! Tax Deductions! This Movie Has It All

Hollywood is so obsessed with superheroes these days they made a superhero movie about an accountant. It’s called The Accountant, and it is indeed about a guy who prepares people’s taxes, looks for deductions, and monitors financial records for fraud. But in his off-hours, this guy is also a master martial artist and a sniper capable of hitting targets a mile away. He also has a secret identity and what amounts to a low-rent Batcave, an Airstream trailer full of weapons and cash, stashed in a storage unit. He’s played by former Daredevil and current Batman Ben Affleck. He doesn’t wear a cape, but he might as well.

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Empty movie theater
Alamy
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A Small Issue at Movie Theaters Is Becoming a Major Problem

Going to the movies in 2016 can be a frustrating situation. People texting on their phones. Exorbitant ticket prices. People talking on their phones. Sound that’s either way too loud or way too soft. People taking pictures of the screen with their phones and then posting them to Facebook in the middle of the movie. For a lot of these problems, there’s no easy solution. An experience designed to take us away from our everyday troubles is now fraught with them.

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Disney
Disney
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‘Moana’ Trailer: The Rock and a Wacky Rooster Make Animated Waves

Not long ago, Walt Disney Animation Studios was all but left for dead. Disney subsidiary Pixar was the animated world’s critical darling, and its frequent box office champ. As 2D animation began to lose favor with audiences, so did a lot of Disney proper’s offerings. But the last few years have seen the Mouse House rebound in a major way, with some of the biggest animated hits in the company’s history, including Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia, which made a whopping $1 billion worldwide earlier this year.

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Sully
Warner Bros.
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‘Sully’ Review: Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks’ Take on American Heroism

Even by the standards of a biopic about an incredibly famous man at the center of an incredibly famous real-life event there isn’t a ton of suspense in Sully. Everyone who was alive and conscious on January 15, 2009 remembers what happened that day, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after the plane was struck by birds during takeoff.(I certainly do; I’d just arrived at my condo for the Sundance Film Festival and watched the rescue efforts unfold on live television.)

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Beetlejuice 2
Warner Bros.
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Say ‘Beetlejuice’ Three Times and It Might Become a Broadway Show

The current Broadway listings read like a video store restock list: Aladdin, The Color Purple, Finding Neverland, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Matilda, School of Rock, and more. Movies are big business on Broadway, and there are more adaptations coming all the time; upcoming movie-based shows include A Bronx Tale, Amelie, Anastasia, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That last one is technically based on the book by Roald Dahl, which has already been adapted twice for film; once by Mel Stuart and once by Tim Burton. This, as it turns out, is not the only Burton movie that could soon be playing on the Great White Way.

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
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‘War Dogs’ Review: Todd Phillips’ Best Movie Since ‘The Hangover’

Among the review quotes on the Amazon page for Guy Lawson’s Arms and the Dudes about a pair of stoners from Miami who became international arms dealers, is one from the magazine Mother Jones. “It sounds like a comedy flick.” It does, and now it is; War Dogs from director Todd Phillips. As the man who made Old School and The Hangover series, Phillips is a specialist in stories about men of limited intelligence and limitless ability to get into trouble. Finding the story of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, two ambitious bros who smooth-talked their way into a massive deal with the Pentagon supplying millions of rounds of ammunition to the Afghan military, must have felt like a gift from God. If Phillips and his screenwriters had simply invented these guys and their improbable rise to the top of the American military supply chain, no one would have believed it. But a look at the Rolling Stone article Lawson later expanded into his book confirms that a shocking amount of the events in this movie really happened.

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Paramount
Paramount
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‘Star Trek Beyond’ Trailer: Shipwrecked on the Final Frontier

It is interesting that, given a reboot could theoretically go off in any direction it chooses, that the relaunched Star Trek has begun to repeat events from the first Star Trek movie series. Star Trek Into Darkness was essentially a revisitation of The Wrath of Khan; the movie not only reintroduced the title character, it also flip-flopped the famous end of Wrath of Khan where Spock dies saving the Enterprise. (This time around it was Captain Kirk who made the ultimate sacrifice ... for about 8 minutes, and then he got better.) Certainly the circumstances of the film are very different, but Star Trek Beyond shares one crucial ingredient with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, namely the destruction of the Starship Enterprise, and the shipwrecking of its crew on a distant alien planet.

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Star Wars Rebels Darth Vader Preview Clip
Lucasfilm / Disney XD
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Darth Vader Will Appear in ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’

With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story set betwixt the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and with a story that involves the band of Rebels who stole the plans for the original Death Star (the same plans that Princess Leia gave to R2-D2, sparking the plot of the original Star Wars), it would only make sense that the Empire’s villain supreme, Darth Vader, would be involved somehow. I mean, he has to be right? What is he, asleep at the wheel of the TIE fighter? C’mon.

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