provided to Variety. When his appeal was measured again in July, (before he released his video apology) it dropped to a 24 from a 39, what Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the Q Scores Company, called a “precipitous decline.”

Apple has delayed films before. In 2019, the company pushed back the release of one of its first feature films, “The Banker,” starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, after a daughter of one of the men whose life served as a basis of the film raised allegations of sexual abuse involving her family. The film was ultimately released in March 2020 after Apple said it reviewed “the information available to us, including the filmmakers’ research.”

Many in Hollywood are drawn to Apple for its willingness to spend handsomely to acquire prominent projects connected with established talent. But the company has also been criticized for its unwillingness to spend much to market those same projects. Two people who have worked with the company, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss dealings with Apple, said it usually created just one trailer for a film — a frustrating approach for those who are accustomed to the traditional Hollywood way of producing multiple trailers aimed at different audiences. Apple prefers to rely on its Apple TV+ app and in-store marketing to attract audiences.

Yet those familiar with Apple’s thinking believe that even if it chooses to release “Emancipation” this year, it will not feature the film in its retail outlets like it did for “CODA,” which in March became the first movie from a streaming service to win best picture. That achievement, of course, was overshadowed by the controversy involving Mr. Smith.

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‘Glass Onion’ Review: A Middling Satire With Appealing Performances

By Daniel Feingold
September 15, 2022

The highly anticipated sequel to “Knives Out” is never dull but not as sharp-witted as its predecessor.

“It’s so dumb!” – Daniel Craig in one of the more entertaining scenes of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”, but also an accurate description of how I felt for stretches of the sequel to 2019’s widely beloved “Knives Out.” That’s OK, though. While “Onion” lacks the same charisma, charm and wit as its predecessor, it’s still undoubtedly a crowd pleaser that buzzes along despite a 139-minute runtime.  

Craig’s shtick as renowned detective Benoit Blanc is perhaps even more fun this time around. Rian Johnson is also back as writer/director, with a new murder mystery that, to his credit, has an entirely distinct setup from the last film.  

A group of friends (Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline), all successful in their very different careers, receive an invitation in the mail. Their ultra-rich tech buddy, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), is inviting them to stay at his remote Greek island to solve his own murder — as in a dinner party murder mystery. (Blanc also gets an invite, though Bron swears he never sent him one. Blanc would like a prize… perhaps an iPad… for whoever solves the mystery). But when this much wealth, privilege and ignorance among friends considered “disrupters” in their respective fields gathers under one roof, something bad is bound to happen. It does, of course – just not in the way, or when, we expect. And so, we’re off.  

Johnson ratchets up the comedy in “Glass Onion” to mixed results. The first third of the film is an unwelcome (and unnecessary) reminder of pandemic lockdowns and mandates, along with an over-reliance on spoofing the ultra-wealthy. Of course, lampooning the ignorance of privilege is part of the fun of both “Knives Out” movies, but some of the satire in this case is so on the nose that it feels patronizing. You can almost feel Johnson elbowing the audience saying, “Rich people, am I right or what?!” There must be a more creative, thoughtful way to riff on toxic greed and influencer culture than, for instance, Hudson’s character casually tweeting an antisemitic remark because she’s a self-proclaimed “truth teller.” These types of punchlines are neither nuanced nor outrageous enough to be particularly funny.  

The hit-and-miss nature of the laughs isn’t helped by a cast of characters I just never wanted to spend time with. Johnson mostly gives his actors caricatures to work with, and the dialogue does a little too much winking to the audience for its own good. Again, both “Knives Out” movies featured mostly unlikeable characters. I found the first bunch deplorably fun, while I wouldn’t want to RSVP to a party with this crew — even on a Greek island with a literal onion-shaped glass room.  

Along with Craig, Monáe is excellent as Andi Brand, the lone member of the friend group with a soul. Monáe is asked to carry large parts of the movie. She succeeds, giving us some of the most intriguing moments of the film as the puzzle pieces come together. Norton also completely works playing the insufferably snobbish genius who feels compelled to rent the actual Mona Lisa from The Louvre (the museum needed some money during the pandemic) just to remind his friends — and himself — how impressive he is. The entire ensemble, really, understands the assignment here. This is a big, ridiculous, meta whodunnit. The talent of the main cast (plus fun cameos!) is not in question.  

The good news is “Onion” begins to click once we get all the unpleasantries of meeting these unsavory characters out of the way and the mystery plot kicks in. The more screen time for Craig and Monáe, the better. Johnson clearly recognizes what he has with the pairing, not unlike Craig and Ana de Armas in 2019. Their chemistry is delightful, and their comedic moments feel organic and earned.  

What starts as Johnson’s forced attempt to show he can still subvert the murder mystery genre with biting social commentary turns into another fun trip through the peculiar mind of one Benoit Blanc. “Glass Onion” is consistently entertaining; and just as Johnson said after the TIFF premiere that he’ll keep making these movies until Craig blocks his number, I’ll keep watching Craig have fun in this role. I can’t help but feel, though, that this second entry into the franchise suffers a bit from the Netflixification of cinema, with a baseline level of competence from everyone involved in a big-budget production that’s just serviceable; you stream it and move on. At least that iPad will come in handy. 


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D23 Expo 2022: Disney Shares Its Future By Looking Back At Its Past

This year’s D23 Expo explored plans for Disney’s future, many of which are remakes of classic originals.

For being almost a century old, Mickey Mouse looks pretty good. 

The world’s best-known mouse and tens of thousands of his biggest fans came to celebrate what made him famous: The Walt Disney Company. 

Fans from all 50 states and 43 countries, according to Disney, gathered at the D23 Expo fan convention, filled with heroes and villains to celebrate all things Disney.

“It’s a place for Disney fans, Star Wars fans, Marvel fans,” said Kiara Ortiz, Disney fan. “There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s just a fun experience.”

At D23 Expo, the company was already looking ahead to 2023 and its 100th anniversary.

In the last century, Disney has grown into a global, cultural and business behemoth with movies, streaming, broadcasting, theme parks, resorts and even cruise ships.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Earlier this year, Disney condemned a Florida law that critics called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That decision angered Gov. Ron Desantis and lawmakers, who voted to revoke a special district status that Disney uses to operate like its own small government. Exactly how it will affect Disney and Florida taxpayers is still unclear.

Disney is looking to the past for some of its future, revealing at the D23 Expo the latest live-action movies that will reimagine classic animated films, like “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey.

In a remake of the 1940 original, Tom Hanks plays a live Gepetto in a “Pinocchio” movie now running on Disney+.

It’s that nostalgia that fans, and especially collectors, can’t get enough of. Rare finds can bring in a lot of cash.

Anja Buehring is a big fan of the puppet who became a real boy. At an expo booth full of vintage Disney, she saw one thing she couldn’t resist.  

“I bought a trash can, a Pinocchio trash can,” Buehring said. “It’s too cute to trash it up.”

The company is also honoring its past by rescuing Walt Disney’s mothballed Grumman plane from the punishing Florida climate and restoring it to its former polish. It was the plane Walt Disney used to fly cross country to the 1964 World’s Fair, scouting locations for Walt Disney World. It even shows up in a couple of Disney movies.

“It was his pride and joy,” said Becky Cline, of the Walt Disney Company Archives. “He loved this plane. He had a special seat with his special instrument panel and his phone to the pilot and everything. He just loved this.”

These days, Disney has a hand in so many properties it’s hard to be a fan of just one.

The costume Emily Billones built is a mash up of two Disney characters: Moana and Boba Fett.

“I am Moana and Boba Fett combined,” Billones said. “We call ourselves Disney Fetts, so I go by Moana Fett. The helmet took me probably on and off, maybe a couple weeks.”

For Billones and countless fans like her around the world, Disney is a state of mind, as it’s about to start its second century.

“I feel like it’s a place where people can come together,” Billones said. “I feel like it’s very diversified, so I feel like there’s a princess for everybody, so to speak. And, it’s just fun. There’s really no growing up. You just live your life, enjoy life to the fullest. That’s really what life’s all about.”


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How a Spreader of Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theories Became a Star

In 2011, Catherine Engelbrecht appeared at a Tea Party Patriots convention in Phoenix to deliver a dire warning.

While volunteering at her local polls in the Houston area two years earlier, she claimed, she witnessed voter fraud so rampant that it made her heart stop. People cast ballots without proof of registration or eligibility, she said. Corrupt election judges marked votes for their preferred candidates on the ballots of unwitting citizens, she added.

Local authorities found no evidence of the election tampering she described, but Ms. Engelbrecht was undeterred. “Once you see something like that, you can’t forget it,” the suburban Texas mom turned election-fraud warrior told the audience of 2,000. “You certainly can’t abide by it.”

planting seeds of doubt over the electoral process, becoming one of the earliest and most enthusiastic spreaders of ballot conspiracy theories.

fueled by Mr. Trump, has seized the moment. She has become a sought-after speaker at Republican organizations, regularly appears on right-wing media and was the star of the recent film “2,000 Mules,” which claimed mass voter fraud in the 2020 election and has been debunked.

She has also been active in the far-right’s battle for November’s midterm elections, rallying election officials, law enforcement and lawmakers to tighten voter restrictions and investigate the 2020 results.

said in an interview last month with a conservative show, GraceTimeTV, which was posted on the video-sharing site Rumble. “There have been no substantive improvements to change anything that happened in 2020 to prevent it from happening in 2022.”

set up stakeouts to prevent illegal stuffing of ballot boxes. Officials overseeing elections are ramping up security at polling places.

Voting rights groups said they were increasingly concerned by Ms. Engelbrecht.

She has “taken the power of rhetoric to a new place,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, the acting director of voting rights at the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan think tank. “It’s having a real impact on the way lawmakers and states are governing elections and on the concerns we have on what may happen in the upcoming elections.”

Some of Ms. Engelbrecht’s former allies have cut ties with her. Rick Wilson, a Republican operative and Trump critic, ran public relations for Ms. Engelbrecht in 2014 but quit after a few months. He said she had declined to turn over data to back her voting fraud claims.

“She never had the juice in terms of evidence,” Mr. Wilson said. “But now that doesn’t matter. She’s having her uplift moment.”

a video of the donor meeting obtained by The New York Times. They did not elaborate on why.

announce a partnership to scrutinize voting during the midterms.

“The most important right the American people have is to choose our own public officials,” said Mr. Mack, a former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz. “Anybody trying to steal that right needs to be prosecuted and arrested.”

Steve Bannon, then chief executive of the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, and Andrew Breitbart, the publication’s founder, spoke at her conferences.

True the Vote’s volunteers scrutinized registration rolls, watched polling stations and wrote highly speculative reports. In 2010, a volunteer in San Diego reported seeing a bus offloading people at a polling station “who did not appear to be from this country.”

Civil rights groups described the activities as voter suppression. In 2010, Ms. Engelbrecht told supporters that Houston Votes, a nonprofit that registered voters in diverse communities of Harris County, Texas, was connected to the “New Black Panthers.” She showed a video of an unrelated New Black Panther member in Philadelphia who called for the extermination of white people. Houston Votes was subsequently investigated by state officials, and law enforcement raided its office.

“It was a lie and racist to the core,” said Fred Lewis, head of Houston Votes, who sued True the Vote for defamation. He said he had dropped the suit after reaching “an understanding” that True the Vote would stop making accusations. Ms. Engelbrecht said she didn’t recall such an agreement.

in April 2021, did not respond to requests for comment. Ms. Engelbrecht has denied his claims.

In mid-2021, “2,000 Mules” was hatched after Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips met with Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative provocateur and filmmaker. They told him that they could detect cases of ballot box stuffing based on two terabytes of cellphone geolocation data that they had bought and matched with video surveillance footage of ballot drop boxes.

Salem Media Group, the conservative media conglomerate, and Mr. D’Souza agreed to create and fund a film. The “2,000 Mules” title was meant to evoke the image of cartels that pay people to carry illegal drugs into the United States.

said after seeing the film that it raised “significant questions” about the 2020 election results; 17 state legislators in Michigan also called for an investigation into election results there based on the film’s accusations.

In Arizona, the attorney general’s office asked True the Vote between April and June for data about some of the claims in “2,000 Mules.” The contentions related to Maricopa and Yuma Counties, where Ms. Engelbrecht said people had illegally submitted ballots and had used “stash houses” to store fraudulent ballots.

According to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, a True the Vote official said Mr. Phillips had turned over a hard drive with the data. The attorney general’s office said early this month that it hadn’t received it.

Last month, Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips hosted an invitation-only gathering of about 150 supporters in Queen Creek, Ariz., which was streamed online. For weeks beforehand, they promised to reveal the addresses of ballot “stash houses” and footage of voter fraud.

Ms. Engelbrecht did not divulge the data at the event. Instead, she implored the audience to look to the midterm elections, which she warned were the next great threat to voter integrity.

“The past is prologue,” she said.

Alexandra Berzon contributed reporting.

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The Almost-Mass Shooter: Man Reflects On Stepping Away From The Edge

Aaron Stark discusses his emotions and circumstances that drove him to buy a gun and nearly go on a rampage at 16 years old.

Aaron Stark is a dad, husband, full-time worker and self-described nerd. But life wasn’t always so normal. 

“I grew up in a really dark and violent and chaotic life,” Stark said. 

Stark says from a young age, adults around him turned life into a Stephen King horror story. 

“I never went to school more than six months,” Stark said. “I was constantly the new kid. I was dirty, fat and smelly. I adopted that early on as my persona. I was told I was worthless by everybody in my life, and when you’re told you’re worthless enough, you will believe it.”

He tried to get help but says the system repeatedly failed him. He came close to a point of no return: almost becoming a mass shooter.

NEWSY’S CLAYTON SANDELL: What was the tipping point that made you want to shoot up your school?

AARON STARK: I saw a therapist, and I don’t really remember much of that conversation because all I remember is the end of it. The young lady, early 20s or so, said, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do. I can’t help you.” As I walked out of that door, my brain shattered. 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all profile of a mass shooter, Stark ticked a few boxes. According to the Violence Project study of nearly 180 mass shootings, 98% were committed by men, about half are white and many are under 30 years old.

Of all the shootings in the database, only four were committed by women. Psychiatrists say young males are more prone violence. 

“It’s not just about mass shootings,” said Jonathan Metzl, director of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Medicine, Health and Society. “Young men between 15 and 25 make up the vast majority of people who die in fights, in car accidents.”

Brain chemistry is part of the reason. Scientists say the prefrontal cortex that helps humans understand consequences of actions isn’t done growing. 

“The male mind is not fully developed in terms of this kind of impulse control, probably until the mid-late 20s,” Metzl said.

For psychiatrists like Metzl, it’s one of the biggest arguments for limiting gun sales to people 21 and older.

“In the U.S., we’ve gone exactly the opposite direction we keep pushing,” Metzl said. “Even in spite of all this data, we push the age limit down to 18 pretty much everywhere.”

Only a few pictures of that period of Stark’s adolescence have made it to present day.

“I lived in a very dark and angry life,” Stark said. “I spent my whole life hating myself. In that time I also snuck into the family members’ photo albums and destroyed all the pictures of me before 15 years old. I was trying to annihilate my own existence.”

He was on the brink of not only annihilating himself, but as many others as he could take with him. 

“Instead of talking about girls or sports or movies, we talked about killing people,” Stark said. “If you’re going to kill 10 people, what would you do? If you’re going to kill 20 people, what would you do?”

Stark says he was ready to die. Then, his life changed again. One of the few friends he had left reached out. 

“He’s like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna be okay,'” Stark said. “He would always tell me, ‘You’re a good kid in the crap world.” He brought me in, sat me down, and we had a movie and had a meal and gave me a shower and treated me like I was a person when I didn’t feel human at all. I felt like I was a walking ball of destruction, like I was just death walking on the street, and he treated me like I was just a kid in pain. It was like a splash of water in my face.”

Stark now travels the country telling his story.   

“If I can help some person, anybody else, out of their own depression by talking about it, I’m going to keep talking until I don’t have a voice,” Stark said.

Newsy caught up with him in San Antonio, Texas. 

“Today I will be presenting my story to a whole convention of teachers and administrators,” Stark said. “It’s going to be a very intense day. These were the teachers that specifically were in the Uvalde school district.”

Stark said he deeply recognized some of the Uvalde’s shooter’s story.

“The biggest thing that made me see myself in his story was a couple weeks before it happened,” Stark said. “He showed up to school with his face covered in razor marks. To me, that’s the biggest sign of someone saying, ‘I’m hurting me. Help me.’ I don’t think anyone could have stopped his slide at that point, but maybe we can stop the next one.”

Stark says he never thought he’d live past 30 years old. Now at 43, he’s dedicating his life to helping stop a cycle of violence. 

“Everybody’s pain is individual, and the key of it is to see the person as an individual to break through that barrier,” Stark said. “I somehow managed to now be able to use my darkest time to help someone else out of theirs. If anybody listening can get one message: Just give love to the people you think deserve it the least, because they need it the most.”

Newsy’s mental health initiative “America’s Breakdown: Confronting Our Mental Health Crisis” brings you deeply personal and thoughtfully told stories on the state of mental health care in the U.S. Click here to learn more.


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Disney Releases Trailer For New “The Little Mermaid” Movie

The original hit Disney animated film was released back in 1989; the new film hits theaters in May 2023.

It’s been a weekend of big reveals at Disney’s D23 expo in Anaheim, California.

Fans of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars all have a ton of new movies and TV shows coming soon.

When it comes to movies, the trend of live-action remakes of classic animated films continues, and fans got a first look at a big one: “The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey as Ariel.

The original hit Disney animated film was released back in 1989; the new film hits theaters in May 2023.

As for streaming shows, Baby Yoda lovers got a new trailer for season three of “The Mandalorian.”

The Star Wars series “Andor,” which comes out later this month, is a spy thriller prequel to the 2016 movie “Rogue One.”

And the man in the hat is back! Harrison Ford, the actor who played Indiana Jones, took the stage to show off some footage from the fifth Indiana Jones movie coming out next June.

The footage has not been released publicly yet, but Ford got very emotional talking about the movie, which he told the crowd is “fantastic”.

D23 wraps up on Sunday.


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