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In spite of the Galactic Empire's heavy-handed lockdown of, well, nearly everything, there's still a lot going on in Han Solo's life.

It's been several years since the young man narrowly escaped life as something of an indentured servant on his grungy, crime-ridden home planet of Corellia.

Since then, he's gone to war as a grunt in the Empire's massive army. He's stumbled across a group of smugglers led by a wily rogue named Beckett. And he's nearly been devoured by a half-starved Wookie by the name of … Chewbacca.

Whooo! It's been quite an eventful stretch. But for Han it's only the beginning. See, he's got plans. Big plans. Sure, he's still a little wet behind the ears. And he might have to fall in with that Tobias Beckett guy for a while. But only until they can hit a big score. He just needs a little money to buy his own ship.

After that, he's determined to return to Corellia to rescue his girlfriend, Qi'ra, who was unable to escape the clutches of the nasty criminal kingpin who kept both her and Han—and many other children and young people—under lock and key.

But once he rescues Qi'ra, there will be nothing to hold them back. They'll live a life of adventure—doing what they want, letting the universe unfold before them.

He just needs that one big score. And hey, while he's working on that, he might as well become the galaxy's best pilot, too.

But it won't be easy, of course. Because nothing ever comes easily when your name is Han Solo.


SHOW DOGS ( Movie Review )

Max is a dedicated NYPD police dog. But if that makes you think of some TV mutt sniffing boxes at the airport, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Max, you see, is a canine detective who solves the crimes. And he's happy to do it all on his own. He'll leap into any confrontation, subdue the baddies, then drag them off to jail with their collars in his teeth.

That is, he would … if his human police partners would just get out of his way once in a while. The problem is, his clumsy handlers tend to treat him like a second-class citizen.

In fact, he was about to crack a Panda-smuggling ring wide open recently when some bumbling FBI guy named Frank blundered into him down at the docks. It was like a dog-and-pony show: Every time Max was ready to bite into the perpetrators, that Frank dude would come running in and mess things up.

It's enough to make a good dog growl.

So Max is fit to be tied—or at least put on a leash—when he finds out the next day that the chief wants him to work with Frank in an undercover sting operation. The authorities have received a hot tip that smugglers are plotting to sell some contraband animals at a Las Vegas dog show. And Max and Frank have been tagged to pose as contestants in the dog show.

Well, this is a barkingly bad idea if you ask Max. I mean, he's no wimpy sit-on-a-cushion-and-eat-grapes show dog! Max is from the streets. He chows down whatever gets thrown in his bowl. And if someone thinks Max is going to submit to one of those show-dog bikini-wax treatments, well that someone should prepare to lose a finger. Or three.

But … this plan is probably the best way to get back on the scent of those ruthless crooks. So Max agrees to partner up.

Oh, the indignities a seasoned police dog must put up with just to take a bite out of crime.


Acts of Violence ( Movie Review )

Acts of Violence is for people who like Death Wish and First Blood, but find the stories in those movies too subtle and the characters too emotionally complex.

Acts of Violence is for people who like Death Wish and First Blood, but find the stories in those movies too subtle and the characters too emotionally complex. Writer Nicolas Aaron Mezzanatto and director Brett Donowho utilize so many tropes in the action/drama formula that it’s impossible not to wonder if you’re watching an unbilled parody. It is a dull, uninspired forgery of a movie that causes the mind to wander due to ennui. Nothing happens in the climax that isn’t telegraphed in the first act, making the time in between best used for maintenance duty on one’s social media accounts.

The story concerns the MacGregor boys. They are—in order of age—Deklan (Cole Hauser), Brandon (Shawn Ashmore) and Roman (Ashton Holmes) and—in order of archetype—the grizzled loner, the stable force and the naïf. Deklan and Brandon have been to war while gentle Roman has stayed home, working as a medic in Pittsburgh. Roman will soon marry his childhood sweetheart, Mia (Melissa Bolona), a hard as nails orphan the MacGregor clan took a shine to when she was just a child. It’s all about family for the MacGregors, though Deklan, his self-medication and his PTSD are straining everyone. That is until the unthinkable happens.

Bruce Willis isn’t unthinkable but seems out of place for a film of this size. He plays Detective I’m-getting-too-old-for-this-shit-the-system-keeps-tying-my-hands James Avery, the last good cop in Pittsburgh, who is trying to build a case against local crime boss Max Livingston (Mike Epps). Livingston runs everything, but drugs and human trafficking are his primary veins of income. His two main henchmen, Vince (Sean Brosnan) and Frank (Rotimi), are adept at finding and abducting fragile young women and forcing them into prostitution. They happen upon Mia’s bachelorette party and make a move on the bride-to-be. After Mia soundly rejects them, they follow her to an alley and ply their craft: a bad choice that sends the MacGregors into action. It’s them against the bad guys, a personal war quietly sanctioned by Detective Avery.

Acts of Violence is devoid of many of the qualities that make a movie recommendable, such as a cohesive plot, competent visual direction, crisp dialogue or even the occasional laugh. It does have a good cast and they do laudable work with the material here. As Deklan, Hauser exhibits the kind of intensity endemic of the broken warrior. All his rage and energy is as adrift as his life until Mia’s kidnapping. Once there’s a mission, he is hard and sharp. Ashmore plays Brandon as the one smart enough not to lose himself in combat. He is stable, grounded and carries the mark of dead meat from his opening dialogue. Holmes is still playing young no matter how old he gets. A History of Violence was a long time ago and he deserves a role that will highlight his maturity as an actor. It is hard to judge the work of Bolona because Mia isn’t given much more to do than exert toughness, which she does well enough. They are all likeable presences onscreen and this isn’t exactly the venue to display one’s range.

Of the two most famous performers, Epps chews some scenery as Max Livingston in his limited screen time, providing the film a little boost every time he appears. Willis never quite phones it in as Detective Avery but keeps his movie star magnetism set to its lowest gear. He seems distracted, like he wants to be certain that his fee for this movie will pay for the mortgage on some island he owns.

Big budget movies get rapped for playing things safe. Whether superheroes or space fantasy, they trade in on the expected while distracting the audience with some new glitz and pizzazz. It’s the safe way to guarantee some return on investment. Acts of Violence is a reminder that this strategy finds its way to all levels of filmmaking. But without something new to offer, all that is left is the formula. And, in this case, that formula needs to be retired.


Instagram: Here’s How to Turn On Two-Factor Authentication

Did you know Instagram allows you to turn on two-factor authentication as a way to keep your account safe? With this feature turned on, anytime you login to Instagram from an unknown device, you’ll need to enter a security code (sent via text message) to prove you’re the owner of the account.

Our guide will show you how to turn on two-factor authentication within the Instagram mobile application.

Note: These screenshots were captured in the Instagram app on iOS.

Step 1: Tap the profile button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Step 2: Tap the gear icon near the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 3: Under “Account,” tap “Two-Factor Authentication.”

Step 4: Tap the toggle next to “Require Security Code.”

Step 5: Tap “Turn On” in the confirmation window that appears.

Step 6: If you already have a confirmed phone number on your account, a text message will be sent to that number containing a security code that must be entered in the Instagram app. If you don’t have a confirmed phone number on your account, you’ll be asked to enter a phone number before the code can be sent. Either way, once you receive a code, enter it on this screen.

Step 7: Tap “Done.” Note: The security code in our screenshot is an example. Yours will be different.

From here, you’ll be taken to a screen containing backup codes that you can use to access your account if you ever fail to receive a text message containing a security code during the two-factor authentication login process. The app will let you take a screenshot of these codes so that you can view them outside of the app.

If you ever need to view your backup codes again later on, you can do so by following Steps 1-3 above to return to the two-factor authentication screen and tapping “Get Backup Codes.”

Deadpool 2 ( Movie Review )

It’s a Marvel how Ryan Reynolds got away with this

In the panoply of superhero movies… Panoply? That sounds wrong; it’s too pretentious. And who says ‘panoply’ anyway? Deadpool would never approve. Let’s try that again. Ahem. There is a plethora of… Ugh. No. Third time’s the charm. Let’s do this. In the pantheon of superhero movies… There we go! Finally. In the pantheon of superhero movies, few are as proudly individualistic as Tim Miller’s Deadpool, and, as Deadpool himself wastes no time in reminding us, few have been as successful.

Following this sort of success can never be easy. For instance, while a loyal fanbase has been cultivated and solid goodwill established, a line has also been drawn. Invites have been revoked. Factions have formed. Those who weren’t completely on board with the tone Miller and star Ryan Reynolds established in the first film have absolutely no business gatecrashing this party, and nor have they been made welcome.

Deadpool 2 is more violent than the first movie. It’s also way filthier, magnificently tone-deaf and utterly relentless in the sodden path that it has chosen to walk. I liked it better than the first film, but in the interest of absolute honesty, I must confess that I wasn’t quite as taken by the first Deadpool as you lot seemed to have been. So I walked into Deadpool 2 fully prepared to feel left out, like Hawkeye in Avengers: Infinity War. Ignored. But I was in for the most unpleasantly pleasant surprise. And before this review is over, I will have compared Deadpool 2 to The Dark Knight. And also the Scary Movie series.

Immediately - in the very first scene, in fact - it is made quite apparent that Deadpool 2 isn’t quite the sequel you would’ve expected. And honestly, it wasn’t really difficult - considering the self-referential nature of the beast - to form a theory as to where Deadpool 2 would take the Merc with the Mouth. Of course he was going to make jokes about cashing in on his own popularity and making a rushed sequel. Of course he was going to make fun of the nature of sequels - and their poor hit rate -in general. And he does. Duh.

But Deadpool 2 is more than just a rushed sequel. It’s a rushed sequel that wants to be good. It’s a movie with surprising depth and, especially in how it handles the story of a certain teenage character, devastating darkness.

It catches up with Wade Wilson, Mr Pool to the rest of us, a few years after the events of the first movie. He still looks like a hard boiled Voldemort, and he’s still running that mouth like there’s no Deadpool 3. Taken by his spirit in their adventures together, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead invite him to tag along on a trial basis for the X-Men, and on that mission he meets young Russell.

Russell is a young mutant who has been locked up in an orphanage his entire life, a torturous place where he has suffered terrible abuse at the hands of a creepy conservative warden who wants to purge mutants like him of their powers.

But Russell is hot property - a time travelling cyborg as unstoppable as Deadpool’s ability to conjure pop-culture references is hot on his trail. His name is Cable, and he has certain information about the future that forces him to intervene in this timeline - and especially Russell’s destiny. This sets Wade - who decides that the young mutant has given his life the purpose that it has been lacking - and Cable - who wants nothing but revenge - on a collision course.

Despite this rather grim-sounding premise, a lot of how much you like Deadpool 2 will depend on your tolerance for a reference-a-minute. In that department, it blows Steven Spielberg’s recent film, Ready Player One, clean out of the water. After a point, the dialogue in Deadpool 2 sounds like you’re listening to a particularly excitable foreigner. As you are assaulted by a barrage of words - unrelenting, unstoppable, even in the most serious of scenes - your brain sedates itself, and begins to filter out only the most familiar ones.

And as expected, the audience at my screening reacted loudly every time Deadpool took a swipe at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or Wolverine, or Reynolds’ Green Lantern. These are easy targets. This is old material. Jokes about Jesus, Yentl, and - God help us all - the Me Too movement, however, were met with stony silence. There has to be a scientific reason behind the satisfaction one derives from understanding a reference designed to be exclusive - perhaps it offers a sense of intelligence where there might not necessarily be any, but the answer’s probably way simpler than that. In that regard, Deadpool 2 - and even the first one - isn’t unlike those terrible Scary Movie movies - at least when it’s in attack mode - but what makes Deadpool significantly better in quality is that the references it pounds you over the head with aren’t empty, but brimming with context - although the depth of this context is rather sketchy.

And like the comedy - which doesn’t pull punches, a commitment to the cause that I admire - another significant improvement comes in the form of the action. But then, what else could you expect from David Leitch, the man who replaced Miller in the director’s chair after Miller had a falling out with Reynolds, and who is described in the credits as ‘one of the guys who killed John Wick’s dog’. Besides the knockout John Wick, Leitch also directed what I consider to be one of the best action sequences of the decade -- in his Cold War spy thriller, Atomic Blonde. Both those movies highlight his knack for stylised action and careful world building, which came quite handy in Deadpool 2, the film which gives us our first cinematic X-Force.

He’s made a movie that feels just as much his own as it does a Deadpool sequel. It occupies that same hyper-real fantasia of the first film, but with enough flair - certainly visually - to feel independent of the original. Like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, in which each film is stylistically and tonally different from the others - the titles are the most obvious giveaway - Deadpool 2 is just as individualistic as the first movie. It’s a film that requires every moment of your undivided attention, right through to the inspired post-credits scene - and it thoroughly deserves it.



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Five New IMAX Posters Released For DEADPOOL 2 Come From a DeviantArt Challenge

Five New IMAX Posters Released For DEADPOOL 2 Come From a DeviantArt Challenge

Five new IMAX posters have been released for Deadpool 2 and they come from an art challenge that was hosted by 20th Century Fox, IMAX and DeviantArt. The first place winner of the contest was artist Andy Fairhurst, and his poster will be printed and displayed in select IMAX theatre lobby cases in the US and Canada.

I think it's awesome that the marketing team included the fans in helping promote the movie. These all turned out to be really fun and wild Deadpool posters that Deadpool would be proud of.

2ND PLACE WINNER – JOHN GALLAGHER – On opening night (5/17), fans who experience Deadpool 2 in select IMAX theatres will receive this art as an exclusive mini poster. Giveaways are available while supplies last and only at participating theatres.

3RD PLACE WINNER – PATRICK BROWN – Starting 5/18, fans who experience Deadpool 2 in IMAX at Regal Cinemas will receive this art as an exclusive collectible ticket, while supplies last. Plus get a free promo code to redeem for a mini poster in the Crown Club Rewards Center. Giveaways are available while supplies last and only at participating theatres.

HONORABLE MENTION – JARREAU WIMBERLY – Jarreau is a freelance illustrator and the majority of his work is in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. He believes in telling a great story while conveying emotion and excitement through his images.

COMPETITOR – ALICE X. ZHANG – Alice is a full-time freelance illustrator with an enduring interest in cinema, comics, and pop culture.

Here’s the official, nonsensical synopsis for Deadpool 2:

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

The movie comes out on May 18th!

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