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    George Clooney is a grizzled Arctic astronomer in The Midnight Sky trailer / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 27 October, 2020 - 20:47 · 1 minute

George Clooney directs and stars in The Midnight Sky , based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton.

Netflix has bet heavily this year on high-profile feature films starring A-list talent: first with Chris Hemsworth in Extraction , and then with Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron in The Old Guard . That bet has largely paid off . Now the streaming platform has tapped another Oscar winner, George Clooney, to direct and star in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film The Midnight Sky . It's adapted from the critically acclaimed 2016 debut novel, Good Morning, Midnight , by Lily Brooks-Dalton, which has been compared to Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora and Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven . The official trailer just dropped, and it's giving us some strong Away vibes (which, alas, has been canceled by Netflix after just one season).

In the novel, a brilliant astronomer named Augustine is posted to the Arctic, scanning the night sky for clues about the birth of the universe. Then a mysterious global apocalypse occurs, prompting all his fellow scientists to evacuate. But Augustine remains behind, dedicated to continuing his research, even as the airwaves go silent. Meanwhile, a team of astronauts aboard the spaceship Aether is set to return to Earth after a mission to Jupiter. On board is Sully, who sacrificed her marriage and left her daughter behind in order to become one of the first humans to travel so far in our Solar System. The astronauts are unaware of the catastrophe that has befallen Earth, and it falls to Augustine to warn them not to return.

Clooney's film adaptation looks like it will hew closely to the novel. Per the official premise: "This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (Clooney, Syriana, Argo ), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe." The cast also includes David Oyelowo ( Selma, Don't Let Go ) as Commander Tom Adewole, Ethan Peck ( Star Trek: Discovery ), Sophie Rundle ( Peaky Blinders ), Kyle Chandler ( Bloodline, First Man ) as Matthew, Tiffany Boone ( The Following ) as Maya, Demián Bichir ( A Better Life ) as Sanchez, and Caoilinn Springall as Iris, a mysterious child that Augustine befriends in the Arctic.

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    Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa take on vicious creatures in Monster Hunter trailer / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 14 October, 2020 - 19:22 · 1 minute

Milla Jovovich plays Captain Artemis, who must battle monsters after being transported to a hidden world in Monster Hunter .

US soldiers must fight for their lives in a parallel world filed with gigantic, aggressive creatures in Monster Hunter , a forthcoming film adapted from the hugely successful global video game franchise of the same name. Die-hard fans of the games are already noting their displeasure with the trailer, which I get—let's be honest, the trailer looks a little cheesy. But the film also co-stars martial arts star Tony Jaa of the Ong-Bak franchise, which in my book makes up for a lot of sins. And director Paul W.S. Anderson was the driving creative force behind the wildly popular Resident Evil film franchise.

The Monster Hunter games are Capcom's second bestselling game series—behind the Resident Evil series—with more than 64 million units sold globally to date across all platforms. Anderson ( Mortal Kombat ) discovered Monster Hunter while visiting Japan in 2008, and adapting a film from the game world became his new passion project. With the hope of establishing another successful film franchise, he enlisted his own wife, Milla Jovovich (who starred in the Resident Evil films), for the lead role of Captain Natalie Artemis, a US solider who falls into the gaming world via a portal—Anderson's plot device for introducing cinema audiences to that universe.

In the Monster Hunter role-playing games, players choose a Hunter character, along with custom armor and weapons. The characters don't have intrinsic abilities, like traditional RPGs; rather, whatever abilities they have derive from the choice of weapons and armor. Those choices are basic at first, and players collect additional resources from their quests to conquer various monsters—including fashioning new assets from parts gleaned from the defeated creatures. In single-player mode, the Hunters are usually accompanied by a Felyne or sentient cat creatures known as Palicos for additional support.

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    All we want for Christmas is Mel Gibson’s Bad Santa in the Fatman trailer / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 8 October, 2020 - 23:23 · 1 minute

Mel Gibson plays a bitter, hard-drinking Chris Cringle in the forthcoming film Fatman .

If you're one of those people who consider Die Hard and the first Lethal Weapon film a classic Christmas movie double feature, we've got good news for you. Mel Gibson plays a broke, embittered, hard-drinking, heavily armed Santa Claus in the forthcoming action/comedy Fatman . The official trailer dropped yesterday, and it looks like an irreverently fun, wild ride.

Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms ( Small Town Crime ), the film co-stars Walton Goggins ( The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp ) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste ( Secrets and Lies, Blindspot ). Per the official premise:

To save his declining business, Chris Cringle (Gibson), also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin (Goggins), hired by a precocious 12-year-old after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. 'Tis the season for Fatman to get even, in the action-comedy that keeps on giving.

"I don't know what I'm doing wrong—I've lost my influence," we see Gibson's Cringle mourn to Mrs. Cringle (Jean-Baptiste) about the decline in his business. "Maybe it's time I retired the coast. Some kids with an air rifle put two holes in the sleigh and one in me. All I have is a loathing for a world that's forgotten." So when the US military arrives to "procure" his services, he accepts, with the caveat that it will be a "one-time deal."

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    Robert Pattinson is a broody Caped Crusader in first teaser for The Batman / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 - 00:06 · 1 minute

Robert Pattinson is the latest actor to don the iconic mask and cape in The Batman .

Capping off a long day of sneak peeks, panels, and teaser trailers at DC FanDome this past weekend, Warner Bros. dropped the first teaser for The Batman , starring Robert Pattinson (of High Life and the Twilight franchise) in the title role. It's directed by Matt Reeves ( War for the Planet of the Apes ), and—surprise, surprise—it's another dark, gritty take on the classic superhero—this time with more of a film noir /detective story vibe.

There is a long and tangled backstory to this latest incarnation of the classic comic book superhero. We all know that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman for a three-film trilogy in the DCEU: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), and Justice League (2017), which had its own well-publicized production woes . Warner Bros. announced plans for a standalone Batman film in the fall of 2014, with Affleck set to reprise the role, as well as directing and co-writing the screenplay.

The original plan was to set the film within the DCEU, after the events of Justice League . But as Warner Bros. was rethinking the shared-universe model for its superhero films in favor of standalone films and franchises, Affleck announced he was stepping down as director, and the studio replaced him with Reeves. Affleck would eventually withdraw from the project altogether, following his divorce from Jennifer Garner and a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.

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    Diana Prince faces off against Cheetah in new Wonder Woman 1984 trailer / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 22 August, 2020 - 21:08 · 1 minute

Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) fights crime in the 1980s in Wonder Woman 1984 .

Warner Bros. dropped the latest trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 today during the DC Fandome online event , giving us our first real look at Kristen Wiig's villainous Cheetah. Bonus: we get to see a miraculously revived Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) don parachute pants in an attempt to blend with the times, much to the amusement of Gal Gadot's Diana Prince.

Inspired by the comic book heroine created by William Moulton Marston in the 1940s for DC Comics, Wonder Woman made her big-screen debut in the DCEU with 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , followed by 2017's Justice League . As we reported previously, the first fell short of box office expectations; the second bombed outright. So when Jenkins took on Wonder Woman's origin story, she deliberately departed from the grim humorlessness and dark sensibility of those earlier films, bringing a brighter energy and wit to her tale, along with the usual action. That vision paid off: Wonder Woman went on to gross $821 million worldwide and earned critical raves, making it the most successful of the DCEU films thus far.

Since we're now in the 1980s, Diana is operating in a Cold War scenario, taking on Pedro Pascal's villainous Maxwell Lord , a shrewd and powerful businessman. Wiig plays Barbara Ann Minerva, a British archaeologist who will eventually evolve into her arch-nemesis Cheetah .

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    After long delay, Artemis Fowl has a shiny new trailer and a release date / ArsTechnica · Monday, 2 March, 2020 - 22:00 · 1 minute

Ferdia Shaw stars in Artemis Fowl , the long-awaited adaptation of Eoin Colfer's best-selling series of fantasy novels.

Nearly a year after its originally scheduled release, Artemis Fowl —a Kenneth Branagh-directed film adapted from the popular series by Irish author Eoin Colfer—is finally coming to theaters this spring. And the latest trailer has, thus far, not been well-received by hardcore fans of the book, who are loudly decrying what appears to be a significant departure from the evil boy genius of the novels in favor of a more "Disney-fied" heroic figure.

There are eight books in the Artemis Fowl series , detailing the extensive exploits of the titular character. The debut novel received generally positive reviews and a few comparisons to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, although Colfer's books have never achieved the same stratospheric commercial success. Still, Disney is betting there's an equally strong appetite for the Artemis Fowl series on the big screen.

That said, the comparison irritates Colfer, who describes his novels as being more like " Die Hard with fairies." As I wrote when the first teaser dropped way back in November 2018, "That's a fairly accurate description. Artemis is the anti-Harry Potter. He's a thief and a kidnapper, among other misdeeds, and he is largely untroubled by remorse. That's part of his charm."

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