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Oscar Season Begins! The 5 Movies You Need To See This Fall

Steven Panzarella lists the 5 movies he thinks you have got to see this year.

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It’s September, and for movie buffs like myself, it’s the time that a bunch of Oscar hopefuls start hitting theaters. Thanks to The Toronto Film Festival and the early reviews that have come out of it, I’ve compiled a list of 5 movies that you won’t want to miss!

THE MASTER– The most recent work of Paul Thomas Anderson starring a number of Oscar Winners and Nominees, including Joaquin Phoenix (WALK THE LINE), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (CAPOTE,DOUBT) and Amy Adams (THE FIGHTER, DOUBT), THE MASTER has gotten a lot of buzz because the story follows the creation of Scientology. It has also won a bunch of awards – in fact THE MASTER won so many other awards at the Venice film festival that it did not qualify for the festival’s best picture prize (yes…at the Venice film festival there is an awards limit per film). It is already being fitted for a spot in the best picture category on Oscar night and is poised to sweep the acting awards at the major award ceremonies.  THE MASTER is set to hit theaters September 21st.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK– Starring Bradley Cooper (THE HANGOVER), Jennifer Lawrence (WINTERS BONE, THE HUNGER GAMES), Robert Deniro, Chris Tucker (RUSH HOUR) and  Jacki Weaver (ANIMAL KINGDOM). SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK follows Pat (Cooper), a man who has just been released from a stint in a mental instition, as he returns to live with his parents (Weaver and Deniro) and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife.  That’s when he meets Tiffany (Lawrence), a women with plenty of issues of her own. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is directed by Oscar nominatted director David O. Russell (THE FIGHTER) and is reaching the peak of oscar buzz for its stars Cooper and Lawrence and for its director. More recently SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK took home the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, which is the festival’s highest honor (won in the past by THE KING’S SPEECH and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE). SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is set to hit theaters in November.

THE SESSIONS– The triumphant return of Helen Hunt (AS GOOD AS IT GETS), THE SESSIONS follows a disabled man (John Hawkes), who wants to finally lose his virginity at the age of 38 after being confined to an iron lung. He hires a professional sex surrogate (Hunt) to help him with the process and gets help from his Priest (William H. Macy) and his therapist (Moon Bloodgood). Based on a true story, with power house performances from Hawkes, Macy and Hunt, THE SESSIONS has done very well on the festival tour and has earned rave reviews thus far. THE SESSIONS will come out October 19th.

LINCOLN-Daniel Day Lewis has become an actor that acts once every few years, and rightfully so.  He embodies every character he plays and earns every award nomination he gets. So when we heard that Daniel Day Lewis was appearing in Stephen Spielberg’s LINCOLN, there was plenty of excitment that surrounded the project. Now with a massive cast and an awe inspiring trailer, the excitement has reached a fever pitch. Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Sally Field, Jackie Earle Haley and David Strathairn highlight the incredible cast.  Directed by Steven Speilberg with a script by Tony Kushner (MUNICH), LINCOLN follows president Abraham Lincoln at the end of the civil war, as he struggles with his cabinet and the politics involved in abolishing slavery. Try to not get chills as you watch Lewis become the 16th President of the United States. LINCOLN is set to hit theaters in November.

CLOUD ATLAS– Directed and written by Lana and Andy Wachowski (THE MATRIX) and Tom Tykwer (RUN LOLA RUN). CLOUD ATLAS stars Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving (V FOR VENDETTA), Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Jim Sturgess (ACROSS THE UNIVERSE) among many others, and is a multi layered, beautifully shot drama about how the actions and events of one person can deeply effect the past, present and future. It is as one reviewer calls it “A three hour mental workout with an emotional payoff” and one that should be seen. CLOUD ATLAS hits theaters in late October.

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‘Pitch Perfect’ Barden Bellas Virtually Reunite To Perform Beyonce’s ‘Love On Top’ And Of Course It’s Aca-Amazing!

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A little aca-quarantine can’t stop these bad belters.

A lot of casts have been virtually reuniting during this quarantine with some distant gatherings more memorable than others. Of course, anytime the ladies of Pitch Perfect get together it’s a singing spectacular that goes viral almost instantly and this time is no different.

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins reprised their roles as the hostile hosts of the a cappella singing competitions, Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberg and John Smith respectively, as they introduced the Barden Bellas. The powerhouse singers including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Chrissie Fit, and Hannah Mae Lee then crush their rendition of Beyoncé’s “Love On Top.” And you know if you’re going to cover Queen Bey it better be good. Oh and streaming the song will not only sound good but it will some good too because proceeds from downloads of the cover will benefit UNICEF’s efforts to support children in Lebanon and around the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aca-amazing!

To donate to UNICEF directly click here.

To stream/download the song click here.

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Disney Reveals Early Unseen Sketches Of Buzz Lightyear Who Was Almost Called ‘Lunar Larry’

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The space ranger could have looked a lot stranger.

It has been 25 years since Toy Story hit theaters…god we’re getting old…which means we have loved Buzz Lightyear for decades now. The beloved space ranger has become a staple in pop culture with his zest for adventure and signature catchphrase but what if Buzz was never “Buzz?”

To celebrate the milestone anniversary Disney has shared sketches of the early concepts for Buzz Lightyear who was actually going to be named “Lunar Larry.” Points for alliteration but sounds more like a cheesy superhero parody than a cool, futuristic action figure that every kid would have on their Christmas list. The pencil drawings vary in style but most of them feature an “LL” on the rangers chest. As time went on, the renderings began to look more and more like the Buzz we all know and love.

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Along with the sketches, Disney also announced the launch of their virtual film festival “Pixar Fest.” The family-friendly fest will premiere on August 9th in the UK with an epic stream of Pixar movies on Disney+ along with other exciting content such as watchalongs, animator masterclasses, quizzes, arts and crafts for kids, and product releases. 

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Disney Just Released A ‘Hocus Pocus’ Board Game And It Looks Wickedly Fun

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*Souls of innocent children not included.

Grab your broomsticks, stir up the cauldron and light your magic candles because game night just took a wicked twist!

Partnering with Ravensburger, Disney just released a Hocus Pocus board game and it will make for a magically good game night. This board game is unique in that game players are not competing with one another, rather they must all work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from completing their potion before sunrise. With the help of Thackery Binx the cat, you will have to dodge Winifred, Sarah and Mary as they cast spells and use potions to thwart your valiant efforts.

“The Black Flame Candle has been lit. Now the Sanderson witches you must outwit; Or with a wretched evil potion, a foul spell they’ll set in motion. Stun the witches and ruin the brew before the sun can rise anew! Work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from draining the lives of Salem’s children by ruining their potion before the sun rises!” It’s like being in the movie!

Credit: Ravensburger

The Hocus Pocus board game is available for $19.99 on Amazon and includes one cauldron board, 50 Ingredient cards, a Witch board, 13 Spell cards, a Sun token, 4 trick tokens, a rulebook, and one black cat Binx meeple. It’s perfect for ages 8 and up and 2-6 people can play at a time. The game takes about 30 minutes to complete which is perfect for a game night with friends and family…don’t want another never ending Monopoly situation here.

To purchase your own Hocus Pocus board game click here!

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