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June 19, 2019

Not one but two original animated films from Pixar will be hitting theaters within four months of one another next year.

Pixar on Wednesday announced its new animated film Soul from Up and Inside Out director Pete Docter. An official description for the film per The Hollywood Reporter reads, "Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you...YOU? In 2020, Pixar Animation Studios takes you on a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life's most important questions."

The animation studio also revealed the film's official logo on its Twitter account exactly one year ahead of the film's release. Disney had previously slated an untitled Pixar film for June 2019.

In recent years, Pixar has faced some criticism for its reliance on sequels over original properties. Since 2010, the studio has produced seven sequels, the most recent of which, Toy Story 4, hits theaters this weekend. Prior to 2010, Pixar had only produced a single sequel: Toy Story 2.

But the studio has still been producing plenty of original properties in recent years like Coco, and they'll follow up the latest Toy Story with two non-sequels next year. Before Soul will be Onward, which hits theaters in March; it takes place in a suburban fantasy world and follows two elf brothers, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Pixar hasn't announced any movies after Soul, but producer Mark Nielsen recently told The Hollywood Reporter that following Toy Story 4, the studio's slate is currently "all original films."

Brendan Morrow

June 10, 2019

Canada is looking to follow the European Union's lead by banning single-use plastics as soon as 2021.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this announcement on Monday, saying the government will conduct a scientific analysis to determine what "harmful" plastic products the ban should apply to, The New York Times reports.

The European Parliament last year banned 10 single-use plastics, including straws and cutlery, by 2021 in an attempt to fight pollution, CNN reports. Trudeau said Canada's actions will "closely mirror" the European Union's, and although a list of affected products wasn't provided, Trudeau cited water bottles, plastic bags, and straws as being potentially on the table, The Hill reports. An announcement on the prime minister's website also mentioned cutlery, plates, and stir sticks. CBC, which reported on the single-use plastic ban ahead of Trudeau's announcement, additionally mentions cotton swabs and balloon sticks as being affected by the ban.

Trudeau in his announcement said this move will both be good for the planet and also "result in huge economic gains," noting Canadians throw away $8 billion worth of plastic material each year.

BBC notes that some parts of Canada have already pursued plastic bans, but Trudeau on Monday argued that a "a real solution needs to be nation-wide."

“People have had enough of seeing their parks and beaches covered with plastic,” Trudeau also said. “As parents we're at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn't littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That's a problem, one that we have to do something about." Brendan Morrow

March 29, 2019

The Mueller report will be ready for release in just a few weeks, Attorney General William Barr says.

Barr in a letter to lawmakers on Friday said that he anticipates a redacted version of the Mueller report, which is "nearly 400 pages," will be released "by mid-April, if not sooner." Barr released a summary of the report's findings on Sunday, saying they showed Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia and did not make a determination about whether Trump obstructed justice.

Barr says that he shares lawmakers' desire to make the report public and that "everyone will soon be able to read it on their own." He also says that his letter to Congress on Sunday was never meant to be an exhaustive summary of the entire report and that it was simply a summary of its principal conclusions. "I do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion," he wrote.

This new letter confirms that the Mueller report will not be sent to the White House for Trump to invoke executive privilege before its public release. Read the full letter below. Brendan Morrow

March 26, 2019

Following Attorney General William Barr's summary, a version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report is expected to be made public in a few weeks.

The Justice Department expects the Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to be publicly available in "weeks, not months," CNN and NBC reported on Tuesday. Barr reportedly provided this timeline to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), per Fox News' Jake Gibson.

Barr on Sunday released his summary of Mueller's report, saying it showed that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, but Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence that the president did so.

Since then, Trump has celebrated the findings, while Democrats have demanded to see the full report, with committee chairs having demanded it by April 2, per NBC. CNN's Manu Raju reports the DOJ hasn't said whether it will make that deadline.

As far as whether the Justice Department will send the report to the White House before its release, CNN and NBC both report there are "no plans" to do so. Brendan Morrow

January 25, 2019

Director Joe Berlinger is about to premiere his second piece of Ted Bundy content in a single week.

Voltage Pictures on Friday released the first trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Berlinger's new film in which Zac Efron plays the infamous serial killer. Efron stars alongside Lily Collins, who plays his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. For a film about a man who murdered dozens of people, it's a surprisingly lively trailer with a tone much closer in line with something like The Wolf of Wall Street than something like Se7en, and Efron's Bundy even winks at the camera at one point.

Based on the trailer, Bundy's trial, and his continued insistence of his innocence even as the audience witnesses his murders, looks to be the main focus of the film.

This trailer is being released just one day after Netflix dropped the new documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which was also directed by Berlinger and which includes previously unheard interviews with Bundy himself.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26. No theatrical release date has been set. Check out the trailer below. Brendan Morrow

September 27, 2018

Big changes are on the horizon for the X-Men franchise.

Fox just released the first trailer for Dark Phoenix, the latest installment in the X-Men series in which the team of mutants must save one of their own, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), who is corrupted after gaining terrifying new powers. It's based on the popular Dark Phoenix Saga, a comic storyline from 1980. The cast from the previous three films returns, with Jessica Chastain also joining as a shapeshifter who serves as a mentor to Jean.

Dark Phoenix has had a bumpy road to the big screen, as it was originally set to release in November 2018 but was pushed back to go through reshoots in response to test screening feedback, per Collider.

This sequel is likely to be the conclusion of this iteration of the X-Men, even if it wasn't originally intended to be. After all, the movie franchise is currently owned by 20th Century Fox, but when the Disney purchase of Fox is finalized, these characters will be incorporated into Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe. At that point, a full reboot, complete with the recasting of every character and a reset in continuity, will almost surely be required.

It remains to be seen how conclusive Dark Phoenix itself is, seeing as it was mostly written and shot before the Disney purchase was announced, but the trailer does open with a telling song lyric: "This is the end."

Dark Phoenix hits theaters on Feb. 14, 2019. Watch the trailer below. Brendan Morrow

September 25, 2018

Netflix's true crime sensation Making a Murderer is making a return.

Netflix announced Tuesday that its documentary series about a Wisconsin man convicted of murder in 2007 will return with 10 new episodes on Oct. 19. The first installment of Making a Murderer, which was released in 2015, focused on Stephen Avery's conviction for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also convicted of life in prison after confessing to helping murder Halbach, but the documentary suggested his confession was coerced. Avery also insisted that he did not kill Halbach, and the show framed his defense as truthful and the case against him as flimsy.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos say that while the first set of episodes focused on the experience of being accused of a crime, part two will be centered around "the experience of the convicted and imprisoned." Viewers will be introduced to Kathleen Zellner, Avery's post-conviction lawyer, and there will be plenty of interviews with Avery and his family as well. Meanwhile, Dassey's new lawyers, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, have attempted to appeal his conviction, and they'll also be in the new episodes. So far, Dassey's conviction was upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2018. But Nirider has pledged to "continue to fight to free Brendan Dassey."

Netflix on Tuesday released a new teaser for the upcoming episodes. There isn't any new footage to parse, but the clip does include some interviews about appealing convictions. Watch below. Brendan Morrow

September 20, 2018

British audiences have been going nuts over the drama series Bodyguard — and now, the rest of the world will see what all the fuss is about.

Netflix has picked up the distribution rights to Bodyguard, a massively popular six-part BBC miniseries starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, per Deadline. The show will air its finale Sunday before coming to Netflix on Oct. 24; the streaming service bought the rights to showcase the series outside of the U.K. and Ireland.

Created by Jed Mercurio, Bodyguard is a thriller revolving around a war veteran who is assigned to protect an important government official, with whom he soon begins a relationship. It has been a huge hit in the U.K., with the first episode scoring an audience of 10.4 million viewers — the best debut for any new drama in the U.K. since 2006, per BBC. Deadline reports that Netflix has been involved with Bodyguard since the writing phase.

This is the latest example of Netflix releasing a British series to audiences outside of the U.K., having previously distributed shows like The End of the F***ing World, Wanderlust, and Black Mirror. With Black Mirror, Netflix fully took over the show from Channel 4 rather than just release episodes that were produced in Britain, and The Telegraph reports that there may be a fight between BBC and Netflix over the rights to a possible second season of Bodyguard should one go into production. Brendan Morrow

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