Families of Aurora theater shooting victims ask movie studio to take action ahead of ‘Joker’ release

(CNN)A group of people whose loved ones witnessed or were killed in 2012’s Aurora theater shooting are calling on Warner Bros. to help combat gun violence as the studio prepares to release its rated-R comic book film “Joker.”

“Over the last several weeks, large American employers from Walmart to CVS have announced that they are going to lean into gun safety. We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe,” the letter states.
Specifically, the letter calls on the studio to end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform, actively lobby for gun reform and make contributions to groups that support survivors and aim to reduce gun violence.
    In a statement, Warner Bros. studio acknowledged that gun violence is “a critical issue” and said the company “has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic.”
    “At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues,” the statement continued. “Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
    Igor Volsky, from gun control advocacy group Guns Down America, helped draft the letter on behalf of Sandy Phillips, Lonnie Phillips, Tiina Coon, Theresa Hoover and Heather Dearman.
    Sandy Phillips and Lonnie Phillips founded the organization Survivors Empowered after their daughter, Jessica Redfield Ghawi, was killed in 2012 when a gunman opened fire at the midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”
    Shooter James Holmes is currently serving multiple life sentences for the shooting, which killed 12 and injured 70.
    “Warner Bros. — and artists in general — certainly have a right to make the kind of art they want to make, but the argument that we make is that with that right comes a great deal of responsibility,” Volsky, who has not seen the film, told CNN.
    He added: “It’s really based on this notion that at a period of time when the federal government is not representing its constituents on the gun issue, we have to organize powerful voices around the country to help us build safer communities with fewer guns.”
    Legislative efforts to address the country’s mass shootings by way of expanded background checks and firearm regulation continue to be stalled on Capitol Hill.
    Since its premiere on the film festival circuit, “Joker” has found itself on the defense against those who criticize its violent imagery and the movie’s potential to fuel violent behavior.
    In a recent interview with IGN, star Joaquin Phoenix admitted it was “uncomfortable” to think about, but, “I think we all are aware of these issues and we’re concerned, and I think that’s why we talk about it. I don’t think that we can be afraid to talk about it.” (Phoenix later walked out of another interview when confronted by a similar question, according to a journalist from the Telegraph.)
      Director Todd Phillips has also said that the film is, in his view, “about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world,” according to IGN.
      “Joker” will be released wide on October 4.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/24/entertainment/joker-aurora-warner-bros/index.html

      Robert Pattinson ‘Batman’ report is a dark night for some

      (CNN)Gotham is shook.

      According to Variety, the actor is close to sealing a deal to play “The Batman” in the forthcoming Warner Bros. superhero film that Matt Reeves is directing.
      Warner Bros. is owned by CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia.
        A representative for Warner Bros. told CNN, “We do not have a deal.”
        Not everyone was excited by the thought of the “Twilight” actor donning the iconic suit.
        “Robert Pattinson as Batman???” one person tweeted. “This exactly why Marvel is better in every way smh.”
        “Don’t make the Batfleck mistake again,” one petition implores.
        That, of course, refers to the controversy behind Ben Affleck taking over the role in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League” — a selection that did not go over well with someDC Comics devotees.
        But there is also plenty of support for Pattinson, with some pointing out there was similar hoopla surrounding Heath Ledger’s selection as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
        That performance earned Ledger, who died in 2008 from an accidental overdose, a posthumous Oscar.
        “The same people rolling their eyes when they heard #RobertPattinson was cast as the new #Batman are probably the same people who rolled their eyes when Heath Ledger was cast as Joker,’ actor A.J.Kirsch tweeted. “How about you be patient and give #TheBatman a chance?”
          Deadline also is reporting Pattinson is on a short list for the role along with “Tolkien” star Nicholas Hoult, but no decision has been made.
          “The Batman” is scheduled to hit theaters in June 2021.

          Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/17/entertainment/robert-pattinson-batman/index.html

          What’s streaming on Hulu in March 2019

          'Pretty Little Liars, 'Batman Begins,' or 'Fear the Walking Dead'… pick your poison!
          Image: freeform / warner bros. / amc

          In the post-holidays, pre-summer slump that is this alleged “spring,” life can get pretty boring. Luckily, Hulu is here to bring on the drama with its March streaming. Here’s what’s available. 

          Often overshadowed by the sheer perfection that is its sequel The Dark Knight, Batman Begins is still more than worth a rewatch. Christian Bale coming into his own as Batman offers an excellent model for future Batman casting assessments and Cillian Murphy in anything is always creepy and delightful. 

          That being said, if you still find yourself missing The Dark Knight after your Batman Begins viewing, don’t fret — Hulu’s got that too. Both chapters of the Batman saga begin streaming 3/1.

          On the TV side of things, we’ve got two tense spinoffs worth the binge: Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists: Season 1 and Fear The Walking Dead: Season 4. Obviously, these two series cater to pretty different crowds, but considering how successful their predecessors were/are, we’re certain they’ll wiggle their way into plenty of queues. 

          Check out everything coming to and going from Hulu in March 2019 below.

          Top Pick: The Act

          From Netflix’s The Ted Bundy Tapes to Prime Video’s Lorena, 2019 has already been a successful year for true-crime series. 

          Now, Hulu is taking its latest crack at the genre with a disturbing dramatization of the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard.

          The details of this bizarre case easily lend themselves to a series, but achieving the right balance between exposition and character narrative could be tricky. Fingers crossed the talents of The Act‘s stars, Joey King and Patricia Arquette, deliver a project worth obsessing over.

          The Act begins streaming on Hulu March 20.


          8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (3/1)
          A Cam Life (3/26)
          A Frozen Christmas 3 (3/5)
          A Frozen New Year’s (3/19)
          Abduction (3/1)
          Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (3/1)
          Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (3/1)
          Acrimony (3/12)
          Alex & Emma (3/1)
          American Beauty (3/1)
          An American Haunting (3/1)
          Assassination Nation (3/18)
          Astro Boy (3/1)
          Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (3/1)
          Batman Begins (3/1)
          Black Sheep (3/1)
          Blast from the Past (3/1)
          Boomerang (3/1)
          Breakheart Pass (3/1)
          Bruce Almighty (3/1)
          Bushwhacked (3/1)
          Chef Flynn (3/30)
          Death at a Funeral (3/1)
          Deuces Wild (3/1)
          Dirty Work (3/1)
          Divide and Conquer (3/17)
          Double Jeopardy (3/1)
          Dudes (3/7)
          Easy Rider (3/1)
          Edward Scissorhands (3/1)
          Fire in the Sky (3/1)
          Free Solo (3/13)
          Girl Most Likely (3/20)
          He Named Me Malala (3/1)
          Heaven’s Gate (3/1)
          I Can Only Imagine (3/8)
          I, Dolours (3/1)
          Impostor (3/1)
          Inventing the Abbotts (3/1)
          Ironweed (3/1)
          It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown (3/1)
          JFK (3/1)
          Jumanji (3/1)
          Legally Blondes (3/1)
          Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes Unite (3/1)
          Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash (3/1)
          Like Water for Chocolate (3/15)
          Middle Men (3/10)
          Monsters and Men (3/27)
          Nacho Libre (3/1)
          No Way Out (3/15)
          Not Another Teen Movie (3/1)
          Office Space (3/1)
          Open Season (3/1)
          Open Season 2 (3/1)
          Open Season 3 (3/1)
          Open Season: Scared Silly (3/1)
          Ouija House (3/1)
          Ouija Séance: The Final Game (3/1)
          Perfect Creature (3/1)
          Rambo III (3/1)
          Reasonable Doubt (3/1)
          Red Corner (3/1)
          Red Dragon (3/1)
          Regarding Henry (3/1)
          Return of the Living Dead 3 (3/1)
          Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis (3/1)
          Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave (3/1)
          River’s Edge (3/1)
          Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (3/7)
          S.F.W. (3/1)
          Saved! (3/1)
          Shaolin Warrior (3/1)
          Shoplifters (3/14)
          Small Soldiers (3/1)
          Suburbia (3/7)
          Summer Catch (3/1)
          Tapeheads (3/1)
          Tea with the Dames (3/16)
          The Chumscrubber (3/1)
          The Cider House Rules (3/1)
          The Closet (“Le Placard”) (3/5)
          The Crying Game (3/1)
          The Dark Knight (3/1)
          The Dogs of War (3/1)
          The Domestics (3/29)
          The Fog (3/15)
          The French Lieutenant’s Woman (3/1)
          The Ice Storm (3/1)
          The Last Race (3/21)
          The Mighty Quinn (3/1)
          The Party’s Just Beginning (3/11)
          The Piano (3/1)
          The Pope of Greenwich Village (3/1)
          Toys (3/1)
          Trigger (3/12)
          Tristan & Isolde (3/1)
          Two Weeks Notice (3/1)
          Vice (3/1)
          W. (3/1)
          Waterworld (3/1)
          What a Girl Wants (3/1)
          What Lies Beneath (3/1)
          What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (3/1)
          Where Hands Touch (3/5)
          Wings of the Dove (3/15)
          Witness (3/1)
          Yes Man (3/1)


          A.P. Bio: Season 2 Premiere (3/8)
          Abby’s: Series Premiere (3/29)
          American Gods: Season 2 Premiere (3/10) — available with STARZ premium add-on
          American Idol: Season 2 Premiere (3/4)
          Billions: Season 4 Premiere (3/17) — available with SHOWTIME premium add-on
          Black Clover: Season 1 (Dubbed) (3/10)
          Cardinal: Season 3 (3/22)
          Catfish: Season 7, Episodes 1-28 (3/24)
          Cosmos: Possible Worlds: Series Premiere (3/4)
          Dr. K’s Exotic Animal E.R.: Season 7 Premiere (3/26)
          Drifters: Season 1 (3/1)
          Fear the Walking Dead: Season 4 (3/19)
          For The People: Season 2 Premiere (3/8)
          Good Girls: Season 2 Premiere (3/4)
          Hang Ups: Season 1 (3/8)
          Into The Dark: Treehouse: Episode 6 Premiere (3/1)
          Juda: Season 1 (3/19
          Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Season 15 (3/9)
          MasterChef Junior: Season 7 Premiere (3/6)
          Mental Samurai: Series Premiere (3/6)
          Now Apocalypse: Series Premiere (3/10) — available with STARZ premium add-on
          Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists: Series Premiere (3/21)
          Rick Steves’ Europe: Season 10 (3/1)
          Shrill: Season 1 Premiere (3/15)
          The Act: Series Premiere (3/20)
          The Fix: Series Premiere (3/19)
          The Village: Series Premiere (3/20)

          Expiring on 3/31

          10 Years
          2 Days in the Valley
          9 to 5
          A Fish Called Wanda
          A Simple Plan
          Bad Santa
          Bangkok Dangerous
          Battle for Haditha
          Bend it Like Beckham
          Bulletproof Monk
          Capitalism: A Love Story
          Christmas Town
          Come Simi
          Dark Blue
          Deep Blue Sea
          Dirty Pretty Things
          Dream the Impossible
          East is East
          Fifteen and Pregnant
          Finding Neverland
          Fly Me to the Moon  
          Forces of Nature  
          Friday Night Lights
          Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  
          Gimme Shelter
          Grizzly Man  
          Into The West  
          Kiss the Dragon
          Kurt and Courtney  
          Lara Croft: Tomb Raider  
          Mortal Kombat
          Mortal Kombat Annihilation  
          New York Minute  
          Once Bitten  
          Pacific Warriors
          Patch Adams  
          Pet Sematary  
          Pet Sematary II
          Rain Man
          Right at Your Door
          Scent of a Woman
          Skipped Parts
          Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift
          Stephen King’s Silver Bullet
          Stephen King’s Thinner
          Stranger than Fiction
          Teaching Mrs. Tingle
          Three Kings
          To Grandmother’s House We Go
          Total Recall
          True Grit
          Wedding Crashers
          What’s Cooking?
          Wild Bill
          Words and Pictures 

          Read more: https://mashable.com/article/hulu-march-2019/

          ‘Aquaman’ sails along on waves of fun and spectacle

          (CNN)In their zeal to catch up with Marvel, DC and Warner Bros. plunged into the super-team waters before establishing individual building blocks, creating a high degree of difficulty. While not on par with “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman” is a step toward restoring equilibrium, creating a sprawling undersea world that most closely resembles the Thor franchise in terms of scope, majesty and happily, humor.

          In a sense, Wan brings the same eye that “Batman v Superman” director Zack Snyder possesses in adapting comic-book images to the screen, without drowning his protagonist in angst. The result is a movie that’s fairly buoyant, and to use a term that might seem out of place when describing a special-effects-laden blockbuster, generally fun.
          After two appearances in earlier films (one, admittedly, silent and brief), Aquaman finally gets a full-blown origin story, including the tale of how his mother (Nicole Kidman) — a runaway Atlantean princess — washed ashore and met his dad (“Star Wars” alum Temuera Morrison), hanging around long enough to give birth to a son, Arthur.
            Forced to return to Atlantis and its elaborate society hidden beneath the waves, she leaves the boy to grow up with his dad, a youth that’s complicated when those extraordinary abilities manifest themselves.
            Back to present day, a threat arises in the form of Arthur’s half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), who is determined to declare war on the surface-dwellers. Aquaman is enlisted to stop the plot by another rebellious Atlantean princess, Mera (Amber Heard), who is putting her own status at risk — and potentially alienating her father (Dolph Lundgren) — by siding with him.
            What amounts to a quest ensues, one necessary to give Arthur a fighting chance against the forces arrayed against him. That also creates a little too much opportunity for Aquaman and Mera to squabble and of course bond, while crisscrossing the globe in pursuit of a trident imbued with fantastic powers.
            There’s no escaping that the dialogue feels strained in places — it’s not easy taking a villain seriously who yearns for the title “Ocean Master” — and “Aquaman” requires a certain degree of buy-in, perhaps especially from those whose familiarity with the character begins and ends with “Super Friends.” Wan compensates for that, however, with the enormously intricate civilization that he conjures, from the fantastic beasts to the towering spires of Atlantis.
            The action, similarly, is both kinetic and mounted with the kind of scale where a submarine can be thrown around like a toy. And while the idea of a reluctant hero tasked with fulfilling his destiny is hardly a new one, Momoa alternately makes him irascible and actually kind of goofy — the first member of this DC universe with whom you might actually like to throw back a beer or three.
              Perhaps foremost, Wan offers a giant spectacle that, while sporadically unwieldy, sails along briskly enough (despite running well over two hours) and proves consistently interesting visually. In an cinematic age where part of the challenge is motivating people to see movies during their theatrical window, “Aquaman” feels like a master of that domain.
              “Aquaman” premieres Dec. 21 in the U.S. It’s rated PG-13. Like Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, CNN is a unit of WarnerMedia.

              Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/11/entertainment/aquaman-review/index.html

              ‘Creed II’ just set a Thanksgiving box office record

              Is this about people being horny for 'Venom?' We need answers.
              Image: sony

              As if to prove there’s no justice in the real world, Venom is on track to overpower two previous superhero box office titans — and possibly become one of the most profitable movies of its ilk.

              After reaching $822 million in total global earnings over the weekend, Venom has eclipsed both Wonder Woman‘s $821 million and Spider-Man‘s $821 million. 

              This might be cause for confusion and concern among superhero movie fans, since Venom received quite, uh, “mixed reviews” from critics and audiences alike.

              Yet it’s still projected to become one of the most profitable big budget superhero movies yet after accounting for both its production budget and its gross earnings, according to Forbes.

              But not all moviegoers are equally into Venom. The film’s box office success is predominantly attributed to its considerably better international showing (accounting for 74.3 percent of its total earnings), versus its pretty average domestic numbers (making up only 25.7 percent of the total). 

              Based on Box Office Mojo‘s numbers, this wide discrepancy between domestic and international audiences is even greater than Batman v Superman, which earned $870 million globally. In contrast to these less-liked entries into the superhero genre, Wonder Woman‘s domestic and international earnings were close to an even split.

              Despite fan outcry, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is still killing at the box office

              Image: warner bros.

              Also over the five-day holiday weekend, Ralph Breaks the Internet came out on top at the U.S. box office, taking in $85 million to become the second-highest Thanksgiving weekend opening ever (after 2013’s Frozen). And in second place was Creed II, whose $55 million haul broke records to become the largest live-action Thanksgiving debut in history. 

              Meanwhile, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald highlights still more disparity between the U.S. and international audiences, falling to third top grosser domestically but remaining #1 for the second weekend in a row worldwide.

              Read more: https://mashable.com/article/venom-box-office-wonder-woman/

              The future of human-robot interactions looks a lot more optimistic after this video

              Image: Rockstar Games / Eidos Montreal / Naughty dog – Composite by mashable

              It’s Villain Week here at Mashable. In honor of the release of Venom, we’re celebrating all our favorite evildoers from film and TV all week long. Spooky, scary!

              Not every video game needs a villain, but a good one can make a strong game even better.

              Villains give us reasons to fight. They motivate the story. Sometimes, they even see the error of their ways and switch teams. Usually though, villains represent the ultimate threat, the last obstacle to overcome before you can lean back in satisfaction as a game’s credits roll.

              There’s a long and colorful history of memorable video game villains. We’re ranking them here based not on who’s “best,” but rather who’s “worst.” The more evil and detestable, the better.

              10. Trevor Philips (Grand Theft Auto V)

              Image: rockstar games

              Ah, Trevor. Pretty much any playable character in a Rockstar Games release qualifies as an anti-hero. But Trevor’s unhinged and antisocial behavior elevates him above the rest.

              I guess he’s not your traditional villain, since you’re actually playing as Trevor for large portions of Grand Theft Auto V. But he’s memorable for his antics as a thief, a liar, and a murderer, and he lives that life whether you’re playing as him or against him.

              9. Captain Martin Walker (Spec Ops: The Line)

              Image: Yager development

              Spec Ops: The Line delivered one of the most brilliant bait-and-switch twists I’ve ever seen in a story-driven action game. Spoilers ahead.

              Your journey through a sandstorm-wracked Dubai is essentially a play on Apocalypse Now. Captain Martin Walker is introduced as one member of a squad that’s been sent to Dubai to restore order in the wake of the “Damned 33rd” Infantry Battalion and their PTSD-addled commander enacting a brutal form of martial law on the local population.

              Only that’s not what’s really going on. By the end of the game, you learn that the Damned 33rd’s commander is dead, and many of the atrocities witnessed during the game were actually committed by Walker himself. It’s a dark, powerful turn that, in a matter of minutes, reframes the narrative around the idea that you’ve been a terrible scourge the entire time.

              Two all-time great villains so far, and both of them were playable characters. That’s not weird, right?

              8. Agent 47 (Hitman)

              Image: IO Interactive

              Technically speaking, the smooth-talking, fabulously bald star of the Hitman series is as lethal as you want him to be. Even though murder is on the menu in the end, every time, there’s nothing stopping you from knocking out possible witnesses instead of just killing them. Hell, your score is higher when you play the part of a conscientious hitman. Yay for only killing who you must!

              But! Going completely non-lethal (save for your targets) brings a lot of added challenge to Hitman. It takes a lot more time to render someone unconscious out than snuff them out completely, and when you do the latter they never wake up.

              Another playable villain. What’s going on here?

              7. Booker DeWitt (BioShock Infinite)

              Image: Irrational Games

              BioShock Infinite is a thrilling game. And a confusing one. Spoilers!

              You play as Booker DeWitt, and you’re up against Zachary Comstock, the founder of the floating sky city Columbia who also happens to be an alternate universe version of Booker. You don’t learn that detail about Comstock until the end, though.

              And so you spend the game murdering your way across Columbia, which is populated with an army of Comstock adherents. Then, once all truths are revealed, you actually take the step of wiping Comstock — and the city he built — from existence.

              Comstock is the villain here, let’s be clear. But Booker is Comstock. So Booker is the villain? Why are all of the best video game villains characters you control?

              6. Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)

              Image: sony

              Let’s just impose a blanket spoiler warning for the rest of this list.

              It’s clear early on in Shadow of the Colossus that something isn’t quite right. By the time you’ve led Wander to his first skyscraping Colossus — one of sixteen massive boss fights that make up the sum total of this otherwise combat-free game — you’re nagged by a creeping sense that your efforts to resurrect your dead lady love will involve tearing down this beautiful world.

              That’s exactly what happens. Wander defeats the 16 Colossi, only to discover that in the process he’s unleashed a powerful magical being that’s been imprisoned for an unspecified amount of time. Oops.

              5. Batman (Batman: Arkham Knight)

              Image: Rocksteady games

              I know what you’re thinking. “Batman? Seriously???” 

              Yes. For all of their technical and narrative excellence, the Arkham games took a weird turn in the last entry — Arkham Knight — when they gave the Caped Crusader a literal tank to use in his never-ending effort to keep Gotham City safe.

              The bat-tank doesn’t fire explosive shells and it’s not technically built for destruction. What’s more, remote-operated drones are primarily what you’re shooting at when you’re in the tank. But. It’s a freaking tank. Big, heavy, destroys pretty much anything it rolls through. Collateral damage in the extremes.

              Sorry Bats. The game expects us to suspend our disbelief, but Arkham Knight turned you into everything you claim to stand against.

              4. Nathan Drake (Uncharted series)

              Image: naughty dog

              Come on. Nate Drake? The Indiana Jones of video games?!

              Have you played an Uncharted game lately? Nathan Drake may be a lovable scamp of a treasure hunter, but he’s also handy with bullets and the guns that shoot them. 

              The climbing and puzzle solving in your typical Uncharted game is broken up by extended combat sequences in which you’re expected to lay waste to armies of bad dudes. Sure, Drake doesn’t gun down innocents (at least not knowingly). But make no mistake: He’s a mass murderer. In most civilized countries, dude would spend life behind bars for his crimes.

              We’ve gone completely off the rails now. Action video game heroes are actually villains, confirmed.

              3. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider reboot series)

              Image: eidos montreal

              Past Tomb Raider games have leaned in on action, but the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013 kicked off a new era for the series, one featuring a much more violent Lara Croft. It’s technically aping Uncharted in a lot of ways, but Uncharted went there first by openly aping Tomb Raider. (And both draw inspiration from Indiana Jones.)

              Just like Drake, new Lara is a literal mass murderer. Over the course of any one game in the reboot trilogy, you’ll gun down hundreds of nameless dudes. Her coming of age journey is bathed in blood. She might see herself as a hero and a defender of the little people, but the families of the guys she gunned down would probably feel differently.

              2. Mario (Super Mario World)

              Image: nintendo

              This could really apply to multiple Mario games where Yoshi also appears. Mario is the scourge of the Mushroom Kingdom, crushing its residents beneath his mushroom blood-soaked boots. But what really makes Mario worthy of god-tier villain status is his cruel treatment of Yoshi.

              Yoshi, for those who might not know, is the smiling green dinosaur that Mario can ride like a horse. Yoshi has a number of abilities, including a great high jump. Mario can also use his dino friend as a launchpad, jumping as Yoshi and then jumping off of Yoshi at the apex of the first jump for extra height. 

              This usually happens to bridge some otherwise uncrossable gap. Which means it ends with Yoshi inevitably plunging to his death in one of the game’s many bottomless death pits. Not too surprising that a guy who stomps living creatures just because they’re in his way would betray a friend like this.

              1. IRL gamers (You know who you are)

              Image: Shutterstock / MaryMistan

              Twist! #NotAllGamers, amirite?

              Here’s a good litmus test: If you’re offended at the idea that real-life gamers are the most dreadful villains in video games then you’re probably part of the problem.

              Let’s review. Over the past year alone, angry gamers have prompted firings at two major studios, ArenaNet and Riot Games. They’ve harassed newly jobless Telltale Games developers because the company’s layoffs mean a partially released episodic game (probably) won’t be finished. They got weirdly aggressive over the role women play in a historical strategy game.

              And don’t forget GamerGate, the hate group that’s engaged in an open campaign of harassment — primarily targeting women in the industry — since 2014. I’m going to weather a few days of attacks on social media after this publishes, simply because I invoked that detestable group’s name.

              Yes, games are always going to struggle to strike the right balance between likable characters and entertaining action. Our favorite heroes are never going to stop being villains from a certain point of view. But the people who play these games aren’t lines of code. They’re people. They’re capable of change. And yet, many choose not to. I can’t think of anything more villainous.

              Read more: https://mashable.com/article/video-game-villains-ranked/

              Telltale Games likely to close after final season of The Walking Dead

              Clementine from 'The Walking Dead.'
              Image: telltale games

              UPDATE, 6:06 p.m. ET: Telltale Games has issued an official statement, which has been added below. Story has been updated throughout.

              Beloved game studio Telltale Games went through a major downsizing.

              The company went through a major round of layoffs Friday, dropping the size of its studio from about 250 people down to just 25 people as the developer moves toward “majority studio closure,” Gamasutra, The Verge, and US Gamer, and former Telltale employees reported Friday.

              Known for its narrative-driven chapter-based games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale is holding onto the small group of people to complete the final season of The Walking Dead, which still has three announced episodes expected to release in September, November, and December, according to US Gamer.

              According to reports, the second Wolf Among Us game and the recently announced Stranger Things game have both effectively been canceled. 

              Telltale Games started in 2004 and rocketed in popularity with their critically acclaimed Walking Dead game in 2012, introducing their narrative, episodic style to a broader market. Along with games based on The Walking Dead, Telltale created narrative games based on other popular series including Minecraft, Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a whole bunch more.

              Read more: https://mashable.com/article/telltale-games-layoffs/

              Scots are loving this kebab shop sign in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

              Thanos could use a deep fried kebab.
              Image: marvel studios

              Kebabs are good, but it’s a deep fried version that has got people talking.

              If you haven’t seen the new Avengers: Infinity War, there happens to be a scene set in Edinburgh, Scotland where Elizabeth Olsen (who plays Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) have a conversation front of a kebab shop.

              But it’s not the conversation people are obsessing over. It’s the damn sign that says “WE WILL DEEP FRY YOUR KEBAB,” complete with a Scottish Saltire flag under it.

              Yes, the sign actually says that.

              So yeah, people think it’s pretty damn awesome. And by people, we’re pretty sure they’re just Scots, or at least Scots at heart.

              OK, you’re probably wondering by now: Do people in Scotland actually deep fry kebabs? 

              Well, the Scots deep fry a lot of things (hello, pizza crunch and deep-fried Mars bars), but it seems to be more of a joke about Scottish cuisine. 

              But it wouldn’t be surprising if there was a chippy (a fish and chip shop) out there doing it. There was Glasgow’s Stonner Kebab from a few years back, which was a pork sausage wrapped in doner kebab meat, battered then fried. 

              It’s also worth noting that the kebab shop in the movie, Hüsnü, was unfortunately only a film set. In real life, it’s a vintage jewellry store called Miss Katie Cupcake.

              Being Scotland though, they’re probably hiding a deep fryer out back.

              [h/t Junkee]

              Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/01/deep-fry-kebab-avengers/

              Former Batman Christian Bale confesses he’s not much of a superhero movie fan

              A still from a movie that Christian Bale has not seen.
              Image: Warner Bros.

              Between Batman v Superman and Justice League, most of us have had plenty of time to process our feelings about Batfleck. 

              But one person who’s yet to make up his mind is the previous Batman, Christian Bale – because he hasn’t actually gotten around to seeing those movies yet.

              Bale admitted as much on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast. “Yes, I’m interested [in seeing Ben Affleck’s performance],” he said. “My son seemed like he was really interested, but then I realized he just wanted to see that trailer and that was it. And, you know, I tend to go see films that [my kids] want to see.”

              Perhaps that’s for the best, seeing as Justice League got pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ reviews. However, Bale’s lack of interest in costumed heroes does not stop with Batman.  

              “I have to confess, I’m not a huge superhero film fan,” he continued. “People seem surprised at that. I don’t know why. But I’ve not seen any of the Avengers films or any of those films at all. I hear they’re very good, but I’m quite happy just hearing they’re very good.”

              Well, presumably, people are surprised because Bale’s starred in two of the most well-regarded superhero movies of all time, and also The Dark Knight Rises. But to each his own and all that. 

              Anyway, at the rate the rumors are flying about Affleck’s potential exit, we may have a new Batman by the time Bale gets around to seeing a superhero movie in theaters.

              Though Bale’s not much for Marvel or DC, he acknowledged that there is one franchise he still adores. “Star Wars, I’m a huge fan,” he said. “Star Wars really interests me. I’ve still got the Millennium Falcon, I’ve got the AT-AT.” (Bale pronounces it “at-at” instead of “A-T-A-T,” just ICYWW.)

              In fact, Bale was in “a discussion” about appearing in Solo: A Star Wars Story at one point – and though that particular conversation didn’t go anywhere, he’s got his fingers crossed for more like it. “I hope there’ll be future discussions,” he said.

              In the meantime, someone should probably check back with Bale in about six months. The former Batman may not have any strong opinions yet about the new Batman, but as a Star Wars diehard, he’s bound to have some thoughts about the new Han Solo.

              Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/03/christian-bale-ben-affleck-batman/

              ‘Justice League’ fizzling is the DCEU’s worst nightmare come true

              The DCEU needs a hero.
              Image: Warner bros. pictures

              The DC Extended Universe is in deep crisis.

              With $96 million on opening weekend, Justice League is by far the weakest box office performer of all the DCEU films. This was supposed to be their Avengers. Instead, it was their Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

              Five movies deep, with all your key heroes activated and united, is this where you want to land on the DCEU opening weekend rankings? 

              1. Batman v Superman: $166 million

              2. Suicide Squad: $133.6

              3. Man of Steel: $116.6 million

              4. Wonder Woman: $103.25 million

              5. Justice League: $96 million

              What does Warner Bros. do now?

              Now the studio finds itself in a real pickle

              This is precisely what the studio was trying to avoid when it pointed Zack Snyder to the exits a year ago, plugging in Joss Whedon to rip out the critical movie’s guts and reshoot them with an all-new, lighter, jokier, ensembley-er tone.

              The coming weeks will be worse for Justice League, as its box office returns drop like a stone. Wonder Woman may have the next-lowest domestic opening weekend, but that film had unbelievably powerful legs, holding strong for a stunning 21 weeks on its way to passing all the other DC films and landing in the Top 5 superhero movies of all time.

              Justice League will be lucky to crack the Top 25.

              And now the studio finds itself in a real pickle. It spent mountains of cash and political capital to pivot away from Snyder’s doleful vision that critics hated but at least was working with a loyal (and, ahem, vocal) swath of DC fans. There’s no going back to that look – that ship has sailed – but the way forward is not exactly clear, either.

              Wonder Woman may be one of the most beloved superhero movies of all time; it will be shared and re-watched and talked about for generations. But melding casting, character, and director is a fussy magic, more a result of serendipity than planning or foresight. It’s safe to say that Wonder Woman succeeded in spite of its place in the DCEU, and certainly not because of it.

              Aquaman was hardly the breakout character of Justice League, and yet he’s up next December. Neither Batman nor Superman has a date on the calendar, and Wonder Woman 2 is a full two years away. Shazam, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps are the only projects with spots on a calendar.

              Shazam, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps? Are they serious with that game plan?

              Shazam, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps? Are they serious with that game plan?

              It’s a mess, compounded by Warner Bros. desire to eject Affleck’s foibles from the Batmobile – how do you do that gracefully, keeping continuity and a straight face? – and the fact that the studio is in the midst of an ownership change. Anyone staring down the barrel of new bosses about to take over knows how paralyzing that can be.

              With Suicide Squad director David Ayers out of the picture, not even it has a way forward. That movie was hot vomit but at least it made money; a sequel should’ve been a foregone conclusion the minute tracking came online.

              Ahh, there’s that phrase: At least it made money. Something all the other DC films, love ’em or hate ’em, could boast. “We made it for the fans!” the studio crowed, and the fans, at least, turned out.

              But for Justice League to fall below that important cosmetic nine-figures domestic opener is a big, blazing distress signal in the clouds that those fans are becoming impatient.

              And you better believe someone is muttering that they should’ve just let Snyder finish this DCEU thing. At least that would’ve been a way forward.

              Not so sure they have that now.

              Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/19/justice-league-box-office-fail-zack-snyder-warner-bros-what-now/