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    I loved Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail so much, I bought two extra hardback copies so I could give them away. I loved it so much that when I heard Reese Witherspon had optioned the film rights, I instantly thought, Oh no. Not because I am anti-Reese-Witherspoon, exactly (although I have to say, I got a real bitchy too-cool-for-school vibe from her in those elevator videos that were going around), but film adaptations of amazing books -- especially amazing books with so much internal dialogue -- don't always pan out.

    Well, the first trailer for Wild has just been released, and you guys ... it looks GREAT. I realize I'm making the following prediction based on two minutes of footage, but not only am I officially retracting my cynicism about this film in general, I think Witherspoon has a very strong chance of nailing an Oscar for this role.

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    It may be hard to think of a better-looking, more perfect couple than Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, right? Wrong! The stars of the highly anticipated mystery film Gone Girl, based on Gillian Flynn's novel, are certainly able to up the creep factor in the newest trailer just released for the movie. This one gives fans a glimpse into even more iconic scenes from the book than the first trailer, and needless to say -- this is probably a film a happy couple shouldn't be watching on Valentine's Day.

    As you can see from the trailer, much of the mystery surrounding Amy Dunne's disappearance lies in what she writes of her marriage in her diary regarding her husband, Nick. Looks like Nick is pretty damn guilty, doesn't it? Book readers are fascinated with how the folks behind the film can possibly translate all the twists and turns on screen -- but since all reports indicate the film may be quite different than the book, it's easy to hope it may take on a life of its own.

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    It was nearly a year ago that we first heard the murmurings, and we could only dare to hope that the dream would become a reality. It seemed too good to be true, really -- in a world of Hollywood blockbusters, could there be room for a small film with a big heart? Thankfully, its makers never gave up on their goal of continuing the greatest story ever told via the incandescent presence of Tara Reid, and today we can see the first sneak peek at their efforts. I am of course talking about the Sharknado sequel, which bears the poetic title Sharknado 2: The Second One.

    Based on the three-minute clip, Sharknado 2: The Second One successfully takes on the challenge of topping the original film through its beautiful tale of heroism in the face of unspeakable danger. As if the stunningly creative premise -- a sharknado is unleashed in New York City -- isn't enough, this masterpiece also features Kelly Osbourne, Perez Hilton, Matt Lauer, Andy Dick, and Downtown Julie Brown.

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    The trend for villain origin stories continues with the most famous blood-sucking fiend in history, and no, I am most definitely not talking about Edward Damn Cullen. Dracula Untold will hit theaters on October 17, and the much-anticipated film has officially released its first trailer video.

    This is Dracula like you've never seen him before -- apparently he was a good guy all along who just needed some supernatural powers so he could protect his people. I'm not sure every iconic malefactor needs a sympathetic backstory, but what this trailer lacks in an immediate hook (for me, anyway), it makes up for with a GIANT DEADLY HAND OF BATS.

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    “Since the dark days, our great nation has known only peace. Ours is an elegant system, conceived to nourish and protect. Your districts are the body. The capital is the beating heart. Your hard work feeds us, and in return, we feed and protect you.” This is how President Snow smoothly addresses Panem in the first teaser clip for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1. But it's what Snow says next that manages to convey the dark mood Mockingjay readers will remember from the book.

    The teaser is only one minute and thirteen seconds long, and it is hauntingly stark in its simplicity, with President Snow seated on a throne against an all-white background … next to Peeta Mellark. As much as this trailer doesn't show, it somehow sends chills down your spine anyway -- particularly at the 1:03 mark.

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    As a freelance writer who frequently covers entertainment topics, I wouldn't exactly say that my job is dangerous. It's true that sitting in front of a computer for hours each day will eventually destroy my body, but it's not like I'm parachuting into raging wildfires. However, I've decided that there are in fact times when the task of writing about Hollywood's latest offerings deserves hazard pay, and today is one of those occasions. Dear readers, I have watched the Dumb and Dumber To trailer.

    In a mere 2 minutes and 40 seconds, I experienced increased intracranial pressure. My neurons ceased to function normally and saliva poured unbidden from my slackened mouth. Thankfully the natural plasticity of the human brain means my prognosis is hopeful, but I'm certain permanent damage occurred.

    I have included the video here, but I must issue a stern warning: do NOT watch the Dumb and Dumber To trailer if you are operating a vehicle or caring for small children.

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    Summer camp is an exciting time for parents and kids alike! For kids, the chance to scuttle off to an overnight camp offers a taste of freedom and a wealth of new experiences out from under the watchful gaze of their parental units. For us parents, as much as we might adore our kids, a little vacation never hurt us either! I'm just saying. You know I speak truths. Plus, you know that finding stuff for the kids to do over the summer is not unlike pulling teeth at times. 

    You might want to spend some of your rare and newly acquired free-time watching a movie. No shame in that game! What's better than a summertime movie, snacking on popcorn and sitting in an air-conditioned living room? Not a thing, that's what. But you'd better be careful. There are sure to be some movies floating around cable this time of year that will have you kicking yourself for sending the kids away! 

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    It seems the world has been waiting with bated breath for Angelina Jolie to come back to the big screen, playing the iconic, creepy, yet gorgeous lead in Maleficent. She hasn't starred in a live-action film since 2010's The Tourist, though she's made plenty of headlines in the meantime -- from her views on celebrities and parenthood to of course her massive brood to her double mastectomy. So needless to say, although Angie embodies Maleficent perfectly and masterfully, it's kind of funny and jarring to see her flying around the friendly skies with some huge ass wings and horns on her head.

    Angie is, of course, stunning, a diva, an exotic dark fairy, a woman scorned, and she does bring another interesting side to the villain from 1959's Sleeping Beauty that was sorely lacking. But sadly, everything else about the film falls rather short -- from the overuse of poor-quality CGI to the other actors to the uninteresting, safe plot.

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    Blade Runner is one of my very favorite movies of all time, and I have been hugely ambivalent about the news that Hollywood has a sequel planned. Even though it will be co-written by Hampton Fancher, who wrote the original 1982 sci-fi classic. Even though it will be directed by Ridley Scott, who directed the original. Even though it's possible that Blade Runner 2 will feature Harrison Ford, 32 years after he starred as Rick Deckard.

    Yes, as if it's not crazy enough news that Harrison Ford will return as Han Solo in the recently-announced Star Wars installment, film company Alcon Entertainment has taken the highly unusual step of issuing a public offer for Ford to return to Blade Runner 2.

    It remains to be seen if Ford will say yes, but one thing's for certain: open casting negoations are a TERRIBLE idea.

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    The Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger has died from injuries suffered in a fall. According to the administrator of the H.R. Giger museum in Gruyeres, Giger passed away in a hospital on Monday. He was 74.

    Giger has a truly amazing body of work, but he's best known for his contributions to the iconic sci-fi horror film Alien. Director Ridley Scott assigned Giger to work on all of the alien designs in the film, including the planet and the three stages of the alien creature itself. Without Giger, Alien surely wouldn't have the enduring legacy it does (despite being released in 1979, it has seriously held up over the years). In Giger's honor, here are some fascinating bits of trivia about one of the most terrifying and awesome movies ever made.

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