Beyonce wins cosplay just like she wins everything else
Credit: Jeff Dye/Twitter

Beyonce wins cosplay just like she wins everything else

Is anyone surprised?

We've heard a lot in the few years about FOMO, an Internet phenomenon that results from looking at social media and believing that everyone out there is having more fun than you are. It means "Fear Of Missing Out," and I feel pangs of it like anyone else.

It's particularly potent when the event in question took place within visual distance of your house, as was the case for me this morning when I saw pictures from the party thrown last night on the Warner Bros. lot, which I can see from my living room window. I didn't expect an invite, of course. I don't know Ciara, and it was her 30th birthday party where all this mayhem took place.

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All 55 of Bill Murray's films ranked by a completely obsessed Murrayologist
Credit: Touchstone Pictures

All 55 of Bill Murray's films ranked by a completely obsessed Murrayologist

No more arguing; this is the final list for everyone ever.

Let's get one thing straight before we begin. Bill Murray is the King.

There are better actors. There are people who have better filmographies. There are even funnier people, although not many.

But Bill Murray is, all things, considered, the King. I've dedicated much of the last 45 years working this out scientifically, and I am prepared to finally share the findings with you, free of charge, right here at HitFix. Ostensibly, we're doing this because of this weekend's release of "Rock The Kasbah," but that's just an excuse. The truth is that it's important that we rank all 55 of Bill Murray's film performances, with a special focus on the top 25.

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Review: Can the final 'Paranormal Activity' wrap the series up with some dignity?
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Can the final 'Paranormal Activity' wrap the series up with some dignity?

HitFix
C+
Readers
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If so, it's already ahead of most horror sequels and long-running series

Who knew you could get this much mileage out of a ghost named Toby?

Nine years ago this week, Oren Peli started production on "Paranormal Activity," which was made for $27, a box of Band-Aids, and three plates of ham sandwiches. Truly independent in every way, the film premiered a year later at ScreamFest, and then… didn't come out for two more years. While "Paranormal Activity" is a remarkable success story, it's also not an instant one. Peli had to struggle to get his film from that first screening to a major theatrical release, and there were plenty of fine-tuning that had to be done to get it there. "Paranormal" has many godfathers, and by the time the film came out in 2009, it had been through many hands. The result, though, has been one of the biggest horror franchises in recent memory, and it laid the foundation for Jason Blum's entire horror empire.

Not many horror franchises get to go out on their own terms. Hell, not many horror franchises should even exist. It's almost counter-intuitive. Great horror films, like great comedies, rely in part on shock, a primal and completely involuntary reflex reaction, and the more times you go back to the well, the more you risk killing all chance of the thing working. I can barely express how much I hate watching them slowly strangle all the joy out of a character or a premise over the course of six or seven or eight films. Some series have managed to do it in two or three films. It's all dependent on how clever and inventive the people following up the original are, whether it's the same filmmakers or different ones. How many truly great horror sequels are there? Check out our massive HitFix Horror Poll of 100 different horror professionals and see how many sequels made their list of the 100 greatest horror films of all time.

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Vin Diesel's had plenty of franchises, so why has only one of them worked?
Credit: Lionsgate

Vin Diesel's had plenty of franchises, so why has only one of them worked?

And, no, Groot does not count.

I like Vin Diesel. He is an enormously likable person when you meet him face-to-face, and much of what makes him so charismatic in person is communicated clearly through his on-screen presence in the 34 films he's made since he wrote and directed and starred in his short film "Multi-Facial" back in 1995.

That short film eventually got him a lot of attention in Hollywood, but by far, the best reaction was the one that Steven Spielberg had. He was preparing to shoot his film "Saving Private Ryan," and he had screenwriter Frank Darabont create and incorporate a new character named Private Caparzo specifically so he could cast Diesel in the film and work with him. A year later, Brad Bird was the first to make use of Vin's most unusual pipes as the voice of the title character in "The Iron Giant," something James Gunn did to such effective purpose in last year's "Guardians Of The Galaxy" as well.

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Review: Bill Murray takes a ridiculous tour of the Middle East in 'Rock The Kasbah'
Credit: Open Road

Review: Bill Murray takes a ridiculous tour of the Middle East in 'Rock The Kasbah'

HitFix
D
Readers
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What a bummer.

Oh, Bill.

I recently wrote a piece about how Bill Murray has transcended being a mere living legend and has become a urban myth, and I stand behind every word of that. Unfortunately, Bill often makes choices involving films that make it very hard to support the films themselves, and "Rock The Kasbah" is a perfect example of that.

Mitch Glazer is one of those people who appear to be able to get Bill Murray to actually pick up the phone, and he's a credited co-writer on "Scrooged," a film that features one of my favorite Bill Murray performances. Unfortunately, he's also responsible for writing and directing "Passion Play," one of the worst things Murray has ever been part of, and so walking into "Rock The Kasbah," I had my fingers crossed that Glazer would be able to tap the side of his friend that has made him such an icon for the past forty years.

Nope. Not even close.

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An open letter of thanks to JJ Abrams for keeping the 'Star Wars' mystery alive
Credit: Lucasfilm

An open letter of thanks to JJ Abrams for keeping the 'Star Wars' mystery alive

The new trailer's great, and I'm so happy I don't know much of anything so far

"Those stories about what happened…"

"It's true. All of it."

Dear JJ,

We haven't spoken much since you vanished into the world of "Star Wars." It was clear that when "Star Wars" began, your world became much more focused, and as a fan who is looking forward to Episode VII enormously, I'm perfectly fine with the idea that you're not randomly available to chat right now.

Besides, it's becoming increasingly clear that you've been busy. Last night, I was seeing a screening when the trailer came out. Or, more specifically, the trailer hit a few minutes before the screening was supposed to begin, but I was already inside the theater, sitting, and had turned my phone completely off, as I do any time I see a movie. My friend arrived and sat down behind me and told me he'd been trying to watch the trailer across the street. "I couldn't hear it, though, because evidently the guy behind us was losing his mind because somehow no one had told him there's a new 'Star Wars' film."

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Eddie Murphy told a joke onstage and the world did not end
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Eddie Murphy told a joke onstage and the world did not end

Bet Bill Cosby thought this would never happen again

One of the most controversial things I've ever published, based on the sheer volume and intensity of the mail sent to me afterwards, was my statement of belief that Eddie Murphy is, in fact, done.

I am happy to say that Eddie proved me wrong this weekend, if only for a single moment. If that happened, then anything could happen. That's good to know. I still don't believe he's ever going to get back out there in a major way. The occasion was Murphy's acceptance of the Mark Twain Prize For American Humor from the Kennedy Center, a major award at this point considering it's only been around for 18 years. That means that Eddie's been retired from comedy a full decade longer than they've been giving out this award. And to be fair, Eddie really only has two comedy albums to his name. One had a TV special that accompanied it, and there was also a full-length theatrical concert film. That's not a lot of material if we're talking about Murphy as a stand-up.

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One new picture! Two 'Alien' sequels! So much confusion!
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Neill Blomkamp

One new picture! Two 'Alien' sequels! So much confusion!

Seriously, what is going on with this franchise?

I'm really confused about all things "Alien" right now.

Ridley Scott's spent much of his time on the "Martian" press tour talking about how he's going to be making "Alien: Paradise Lost" as his next film. At the same time, Neill Blomkamp just dropped an image of a pulse rifle for his "Alien" film, which people are calling "Alien 5" when they write about it even though it's unclear how the math is going to work by the time it comes out.

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Review: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks hit another historical home run with 'Bridge of Spies'
Credit: Disney

Review: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks hit another historical home run with 'Bridge of Spies'

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
The film's script helps make this a charmingly strange film for Spielberg

At some point, Tom Hanks appointed himself the official chronicler of America in the late '50s and early '60s, with occasional digressions to earlier eras in case of world wars. I am perfectly fine with that, and I particularly like it when he and Steven Spielberg collaborate on these things. I am especially fond of "Catch Me If You Can," and while I expected something more on the "Munich"/"Saving Private Ryan" end of the scale, I was pleased to see that "Spies" is not a thriller so much as an ode to both American diplomacy and the tradition of moral movie fathers along the lines of Atticus Finch.

In fact, there's a good deal of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in the script credited to Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen. Tom Hanks plays James B. Donovan, an insurance lawyer who is asked to do his patriotic duty by representing an accused Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, who has been arrested. This father, this moral paragon, does his hard duty, and it is deeply unpopular with the people in his community. While it makes things difficult, he sticks to his convictions, and eventually, his family sees him for the hero that he is. Those are broad strokes, and I can see how someone who loves "Mockingbird" (i.e. anyone who loves movies) would enjoy being able to play that kind of dynamic, especially with Tom Hanks playing the part.

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Why that new 'Fantastic Four' rumor is complete nonsense
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Why that new 'Fantastic Four' rumor is complete nonsense

Sorry to break some hearts, but let's look at this logically, folks.

Here's the thing about rumors: the ones that spread the fastest are the ones that people reeeeeeeeeally want to believe.

Fans want Marvel to take control of "Fantastic Four." It's that simple.

Fox isn't planning to give it back to Marvel, though. Whether anyone wants to believe it at this point or not, they still have plans for the property. What form those plans will take is still under discussion, but they haven't just given up and thrown in the towel on it. They took a critical beating on the film, they had big problems with the press and with their director, and it's been a financial disappointment, to say the least. Even so, they managed to squeeze about $165 million out of the movie when you factor in the worldwide box-office.

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