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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.
Vacation group shot
New Line
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‘Vacation’ Review: This Sad Sequel Truly Is a Road Trip from Hell

Full disclosure: I missed the last 10 minutes of Vacation. Last night’s press screening started 20 minutes late, then began without any sound, which lead to a 10 minute delay to correct the technical difficulties. With an unbreakable engagement elsewhere, I had to sneak out right before the very last scene. So take this review with as many grains of salt as you’d like. If you think those final minutes might recontextualize everything that came before to transform a generally miserable comedy into a beacon of transcendent hilarity, so be it. Having sat through the previous 90 minutes, I’m of the opinion that nothing short of the long-lost missing footage from Orson Welles’ Magnificent Ambersons could have redeemed this dreadful film.

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Jar Jar Binks
Lucasfilm
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Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Jar Jar Binks in ‘The Phantom Menace’

In an interview with VICE, Ahmed Best, best known as the man who appeared in three less-than-enthusiastically received Star Wars prequels as the less-than-beloved Jar Jar Binks, says that while he was the one who ended up winning the role, there was a far more famous superstar who really wanted to play everyone’s ninth-favorite Gungan. And that man was Michael Jackson.

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Netflix Wet Hot American Summer Photos
Netflix
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New Netflix Instant Releases: July 2015

July is almost upon us and it’s going to be a good month for Netflix users, as the streaming service is adding a whole slew of new movies and TV shows, including a bunch of exclusives. Cult comedy fans are eagerly awaiting the debut of the return of Wet Hot American Summer as a new series featuring the original cast, and standup fans will get a brand-new special from Rush Hour star Chris Tucker. Plus, there’s a whole slew of recent hits from television and cinemas (The Guest!). Read on for your guide to the new Netflix Instant releases arriving in July.

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Inside Out
Pixar
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‘Inside Out’ Review: A New Pixar Masterpiece

It’s been at least five years since the last great Pixar film (or more, depending on your feelings about Toy Story 3). In the interim, they produced a series of sequels — some quite entertaining, but few as transcendently beautiful as the original concepts that turned the studio into the most dependable brand in all of Hollywood. Their latest effort, Inside Out, isn’t just a return to form; it surpasses almost all of their previous classics. It is, from start to finish, one of the best films Pixar has ever made.

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jurassic-park-review-pic
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‘Jurassic World’ Review: The Park Is Open and Full of Dumb People

When all you care about is money, bad things happen. That’s the message of Jurassic World, where greedy theme-park executives hoping to spike attendance engineer the “Indominus Rex,” a genetically-modified dinosaur that immediately turns on its creators and runs amok. Designed as a cautionary tale about the dangers of building a meaner, badder monster purely for the sake of profits, Jurassic World works equally well as a cautionary tale about doing the same thing in movies. All of the rationalizations provided by Jurassic World’s employees — “Consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth.” “Somebody’s gotta make sure this company has a future!” — could have been taken directly out of the mouths of the studio executives who approved this gene splice of a reboot and a sequel. Their creation — the Indominus or the movie, there’s basically no difference — is as advertised; huge, mean, and visually striking. But this experiment is not without consequences.

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Disney
Disney
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‘Bridge of Spies’ Trailer: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s Cold War Thriller Looks Mighty Cool

When Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg last made a war film, they produced Saving Private Ryan, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and features what’s widely considered one of the greatest battle scenes ever captured on film. They’ve worked together since, including on Catch Me If You Can, one of the best movies of either man’s career, but Bridge of Spies might be considered a kind of spiritual sequel to Ryan. That was Hanks and Spielberg’s World War II picture. This is their Cold War one.

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Entourage Movie
Warner Bros.
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Review: The ‘Entourage’ Movie Is Basically ‘Entourage’ Season 9 on a Larger Screen

That’s Entourage in a nutshell. Whenever things threaten to get too serious, the show (and now the film) would just trot out a celebrity cameo or two, distract the audience for a couple minutes, and then carry on as if nothing ever happened. For better or worse, the Entourage movie is an extremely faithful adaptation of the Entourage television show. All the main characters and most of the key supporting players from the show’s eight seasons are back, along with series creator Doug Ellin (who co-wrote and directed the movie). Even though the TV show ended with its lovable bad boys making their first tentative steps toward maturity and monogamy — Vince gets engaged, his manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) finally settles down with his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Ari decides to retire to spend more time from his family — all of that gets instantly erased before the movie’s opening credits roll. Status quo restored, Vince, Eric, Ari, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) return to their luxurious, lascivious ways with R-rated abandon. Shouldn’t these characters have grown up by now?

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