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Review: In 'Get Out,' the two-faced horrors of racism

"Do they know I'm black?" Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) asks his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) as they get ready to leave their city apartment for a weekend at her parents' rural estate. "No," she replies. "Should they?"

"It seems like something you might want to mention," he sighs. "I don't want to get chased off the lawn with a shotgun."

It's a joke but it's also foreshadowing — and just a hint of the frights to come. In Peele's directorial debut, the former "Key and Peele" star has —as he often did on that satirical sketch series — turned inside out even supposedly progressive assumptions about race. But Peele has largely left comedy behind in a more chilling portrait of the racism that lurks beneath smiling white faces and defensive, paper-thin protestations like, "But I voted for Obama!" and "Isn't Tiger Woods amazing?"

Those are the kinds of things that Rose's father, Dean (an excellent Bradley Whitford), says as he and his wife, Missy (Catherine Keener), heartily welcomes his daughter's boyfriend. "How long has this thang been going on?" Dean asks with forced emphasis on "thang."

But the warm welcome is only skin deep. A deeply bizarre atmosphere takes hold at the house, where all the hired help is black. They are a spooky, robotic bunch, with dead eyes and zombie-like demeanors that would have stood out even in "The Stepford Wives." Something clearly is off, though Peele takes his time letting the mystery thicken.

"Get Out," produced by Jason Blum's low-budget horror studio Blumhouse Productions, is serious, even sober in its horror. But its archness has moments of creepy levity. When Chris is given a tour of the house, Dean points out the sealed door to the basement. "Black mold," he says.

Things get even stranger when Chris meets some of the family friends, who all appear oddly frozen in time somehow. Some ogle him with lust, feeling his biceps. The most paranoid (and funny) character in the movie is Chris' friend, Rod (a terrific Lil Rel Howery), a TSA agent who — dubious from the start — grows increasingly concerned with every update from Chris.

Eventually, the truth comes out, things turn bloody and, as you'd expect, we get a look at that basement.

It's long been a lamentable joke that in horror films — never the most inclusive of genres — the black dude is always the first to go. In this way, "Get Out" is radical and refreshing in its perspective. The movie is entirely from Chris's point of view; his fears are ours.

Peele originally conceived his long-planned film as an Obama-era horror, one that revealed the hidden racism that the country had supposedly overcome. "Get Out" instead comes out at a time where few still hold any belief in a post-racial America. The dark forces unleashed in "Get Out" came out of hiding long ago.

"Get Out," a Universal Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references." Running time: 103 minutes. Three stars out of four.


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Review: 'Contemporary Color' is a hypnotic concert film

those baton and saber twirling staples of small town parades and high school football games. The musicians, including the likes of St. Vincent, Lucius, Ad-Rock, Zola Jesus and Nelly Furtado, composed original songs that the color guard teams then used to choreograph a corresponding routine. The unique spectacle, which took place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, is chronicled with experimental verve in the documentary "Contemporary Color ," from filmmaking brothers Bill and Turner Ross.

Narrative is of little consequence in "Contemporary Color." The Ross brothers show some interest in the excitable high school students from various parts of the country who have devoted most of the free time of their young lives to their color guard teams. This strange, high profile gig will also be the last time many are performing together. But the audience doesn't get to know any individual well enough for that to have any sort of emotional impact.

Maybe it'll remind some of their long lost high school passions, but the most remarkable thing about these youngsters is what happens when they're on the stage moving in tandem in an eye-popping swirl of sequins and flags. You forget that just a minute ago they were giggly and emotional and inarticulate in that way that most normal people are when a camera is pointed at them.

The Ross bros. employ various techniques to keep the sights stimulating, dreamily overlaying images and sounds in hypnotically retro fashion. They were right to keep "Contemporary Color" on the experimental side, but the film isn't immune from dragging some. After a handful of performances, they do start to blend together a bit. Perhaps that's because they have the unenviable task of documenting the entire show for an audience who will be watching it separated by a screen, making it that much more difficult to convey the actual energy of a live performance.

Off stage, too, the film can't help but stumble onto the high/low divide between the color guard art that they're purportedly celebrating and the fact that many of the students and coaches participating simply haven't heard of some of the indie musicians they've been paired up with. The film isn't out to mock anyone, nor is Byrne, who seems genuinely delighted by the color guard troupes. And yet I couldn't help but feel a slight queasiness watching three grown men standing in the hall of a high school having to tell the camera that they had not heard of the act How to Dress Well.

The Ross brothers have established themselves as distinct and lovely voices in the documentary world. Their three previous features, "45365," ''Tchoupitoulas" and "Western" are lyrical and humanistic. "Contemporary Color," constrained by an established story, exists outside of that. They put their own spin on the concert film, but I'm not entirely convinced that "Contemporary Color," despite its earnest intentions, will hold the attention of anyone who wasn't already interested.

"Contemporary Color," an Oscilloscope Laboratories release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "brief strong language." Running time: 107 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter:

Box Office Top 20: 'Lego Batman,' 'Fifty Shades' stay on top

Holdovers "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Fifty Shades Darker" led the North American box office for a second week, while Matt Damon's "The Great Wall" — a hit in China, where it was made — struggled in its domestic debut.

Warner Bros.' "The Lego Batman Movie" was No.1 again, selling $42.7 million in tickets over the four-day holiday weekend, according to final figures Tuesday from comScore. Universal's "Fifty Shades Darker," which led overseas business, earned $22.7 million Friday through Monday.

But Universal's critically panned action epic "The Great Wall," the most expensive film ever made in China with a budget of $150 million, failed to make as much of an impact as it did on the other side of the world. After racking up $171 million in China earlier this year, the North American bow of director Zhang Yimou's film netted $21.5 million. New releases "Fist Fight," the Fox comedy starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day ($14.1 million), and Gore Verbinski's "A Cure for Wellness" ($5 million) also struggled.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Tuesday by comScore:

1. "The Lego Batman Movie," Warner Bros., $42,744,131, 4,088 locations, $10,456 average, $107,310,445, 2 weeks.

2. "Fifty Shades Darker," Universal, $22,683,970, 3,714 locations, $6,108 average, $91,380,425, 2 weeks.

3. "The Great Wall," Universal, $21,508,490, 3,325 locations, $6,469 average, $21,508,490, 1 week.

4. "John Wick: Chapter Two," Lionsgate, $18,981,463, 3,113 locations, $6,097 average, $61,173,546, 2 weeks.

5. "Fist Fight," Warner Bros., $14,121,149, 3,185 locations, $4,434 average, $14,121,149, 1 week.

6. "Hidden Figures," 20th Century Fox, $9,010,782, 2,217 locations, $4,064 average, $144,502,612, 9 weeks.

7. "Split," Universal, $8,488,990, 2,445 locations, $3,472 average, $125,054,520, 5 weeks.

8. "A Dog's Purpose," Universal, $7,472,185, 2,400 locations, $3,113 average, $52,587,695, 4 weeks.

9. "La La Land," Lionsgate, $5,640,915, 1,587 locations, $3,554 average, $134,644,981, 11 weeks.

10. "Lion," The Weinstein Company, $5,144,385, 1,542 locations, $3,336 average, $37,399,868, 13 weeks.

11. "A Cure For Wellness," 20th Century Fox, $5,004,463, 2,704 locations, $1,851 average, $5,004,463, 1 week.

12. "Rings," Paramount, $2,729,286, 1,560 locations, $1,750 average, $26,152,504, 3 weeks.

13. "Moana," Disney, $1,457,717, 424 locations, $3,438 average, $244,912,679, 13 weeks.

14. "I Am Not Your Negro," Magnolia Pictures, $1,258,942, 260 locations, $4,842 average, $3,493,364, 3 weeks.

15. "Everybody Loves Somebody," Lionsgate, $1,067,515, 333 locations, $3,206 average, $1,067,515, 1 week.

16. "Sing," Universal, $1,046,055, 561 locations, $1,865 average, $266,977,160, 9 weeks.

17. "Fences," Paramount, $1,032,350, 560 locations, $1,843 average, $55,379,319, 10 weeks.

18. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Disney, $996,014, 435 locations, $2,290 average, $528,807,482, 10 weeks.

19. "2017 Oscar Shorts," Magnolia Pictures, $783,978, 270 locations, $2,904 average, $1,824,225, 2 weeks.

20. "Moonlight," A24, $671,582, 455 locations, $1,476 average, $21,294,977, 18 weeks.


Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

Sword breaks off Civil War memorial; vandalism suspected

A sword has broken off again from a memorial depicting the famed 54th Massachusetts Civil War regiment, featured in the Denzel Washington movie "Glory."

Boston police are investigating after the damage was reported Tuesday. They suspect vandalism.

National Park Service spokesman Sean Hennessey tells the Boston Globe it's happened frequently enough that there are fiberglass replacement swords on hand.

The memorial is by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It depicts the free black men who formed a regiment led by Robert Gould Shaw, the son of a white abolitionist family.

The regiment was made famous by its 1863 attack on Fort Wagner in South Carolina and was popularized in the 1989 movie.

The statue is a popular tourist stop across from the Statehouse. Someone splashed it with paint in 2012. Someone else ripped off the sword in 2015.

The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store

iTunes Movies US Charts:

1. Arrival

2. Doctor Strange (2016)

3. The Edge of Seventeen

4. Trolls

5. Allied

6. The Accountant (2016)

7. Hacksaw Ridge

8. John Wick

9. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

10. The Girl On the Train (2016)

iTunes Movies US Charts - Independent:

1. Moonlight

2. Manchester By the Sea

3. Loving

4. Captain Fantastic

5. Black Swan

6. XX

7. The Dressmaker

8. Embrace

9. Don't Hang Up

10. Priceless


(copyright) 2017 Apple Inc.

Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx target of racial slur in Croatia

Croatian police have filed disorderly conduct charges against two people who allegedly used a racial slur to insult Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx in a restaurant.

Police said they acted after receiving reports Sunday of "particularly arrogant and rude" insults made against restaurant guests, including "one of the guests on racial grounds."

The police statement did not name Foxx as the target, but the actor briefly posted comments about the incident on his Instagram profile before deleting them.

Foxx mentioned an offensive racial term among the examples of the vulgar language used.

Police said they are investigating whether to pursue other charges against the men.

Croatia, like other European countries, has seen a rise in far-right sentiments.

Foxx was in Dubrovnik, a resort on the Adriatic Sea, filming Robin Hood: Origins, in which he plays Little John. The Lionsgate retelling of English folklore stars Taron Egerton as the titular thief. Otto Bathurst is directing the action film, also starring Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan and Ben Mendelsohn.

A day after the alleged racial slur, Foxx said on his Instagram profile he has his "mind blown" by the beauty of Dubrovnik.

"I'm out here in Croatia, it's crazy," he said.

Noted movie critic Richard Schickel dies at 84

Richard Schickel, a noted movie critic for Life and Time magazines who also wrote dozens of books and made documentaries about Hollywood, has died. He was 84.

Schickel, who'd had a series of strokes, died on Saturday in Los Angeles from complications of dementia, his daughter, Erika Schickel, told the New York Times.

"He was one of the fathers of American film criticism," she told the Los Angeles Times. "He had a singular voice. When he wrote or spoke, he had an old-fashioned way of turning a phrase. He was blunt and succinct both on the page and in life."

In a career that spanned a half-century, Schickel told it like it was — or as he saw it — whether the flick was a star-heavy blockbuster or a gritty independent production.

He loved "Citizen Kane" but thought "The Maltese Falcon" was "cramped and static."

Shickel was "witty, analytical, tough-minded but always fair, a gifted stylist who believed in honesty but steered clear of cheap shots," Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote.

"He wrote from the perspective of a film insider but responded to films from a gut level and never lost the sense of being an average filmgoer reacting to what was on the screen," Richard Zoglin, a fellow critic and now a contributing editor at Time, told The New York Times.

Schickel estimated that he had seen more than 22,000 motion pictures, beginning with Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" when he was 5 years old.

But the Milwaukee-born writer was no snob about his passion.

In his 2015 memoir, he wrote: "I just like to be there in the dark watching something — almost anything, if truth be known."

He also liked to write about them. He was a Life magazine reviewer from 1965 until the magazine closed in 1972, then worked for Time until 2010. He later wrote for the blog

Shickel also wrote, co-wrote or edited nearly 40 books, including biographies of luminaries such as Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood and he wrote or directed nearly 40 documentaries on Hollywood and its players.

Shickel counted among his acquaintances the likes of Eastwood, director Stanley Kubrick and "Chinatown" screenwriter Robert Towne.

In addition to his daughter Erika, Shickel is survived by a daughter, Jessica Vild; a step-daughter, Ali Rubinstein and four grandchildren.

Jolie hopes family will come out 'stronger' after breakup

Angelina Jolie says that she and her family have been going through a "difficult time" since the breakup of her marriage to Brad Pitt, but added that hopefully they would come out "stronger for it."

The actress and filmmaker spoke briefly about her personal struggles during a recent interview with BBC World News. She has been promoting her new movie, "First They Killed My Father." It's set in Cambodia and based on the life of author and human rights activist Loung Ung, who was a child during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. Jolie directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Loung.

Jolie, who has custody of her six children with Pitt, said that "we are and forever will be a family" and that having faith was how she was "coping."

'Moonlight' and 'The Americans' receive Writers Guild Awards

The screenplay for "Moonlight" and the scripts for "The Americans" and "Atlanta" were among the winners of this year's Writers Guild Awards.

Barry Jenkins' script for the Oscar-nominated "Moonlight" won the Guild prize for best original screenplay. Oscar nominee Eric Heisserer of "Arrival" won for best adapted screenplay. Best documentary screenplay went to "Command and Control," based on a telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser and story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts.

The awards were presented in New York and Los Angeles on Sunday night by the Writers Guild of America, West and East.

"The Americans" featured a team of seven writers and won for best television drama series. Best comedy went to "Atlanta" and its team of five writers, including Donald Glover and Stephen Glover.

'Lego Batman' stays No. 1, conquers 'The Great Wall'

"The Great Wall" was a hit in China. In North America, it was a dud.

The most expensive film ever made in China and with a budget of $150 million, "The Great Wall" was intended to prove that the world's no. 2 movie marketplace could produce Hollywood-sized blockbusters of its own. Though it ran up $171 million in ticket sales in China, "The Great Wall" pulled in $18.1 million in its North American debut over Presidents Day weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

That was good enough for third place, falling behind last weekend's top two films, "The Lego Batman" and "Fifty Shades Darker." The Warner Bros. animated release easily led the box office again with $34.2 million in its second week, sliding only 35 percent. Universal's "Fifty Shades Darker" sold $21 million in tickets in its second week. The erotic sequel continues to play well overseas, where it led international business with $43.7 million over the weekend.

Slammed by critics, "The Great Wall" didn't measure up to its initial ambitions. It was produced by Legendary Entertainment, which has since been acquired by Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group. The film, directed by Zhang Yimou, originated with an idea by Legendary chief executive Thomas Tull, who exited the company last month.

But "The Great Wall" isn't a bomb. It has made $244.6 million overseas and performed over the weekend in North America slightly better than some pundits expected.

"This is absolutely a strategy that's worldwide," said Nick Carpou, distribution chief for Universal. "Worldwide, we are one of many markets."

Universal could still claim four of the top 10 films, the other two being "A Dog's Purpose" ($5.6 million in its fourth week) and "Split" ($7 million in its fifth week), so far the top film of 2017.

More East-West productions like "The Great Wall" are sure to follow. Studios already regularly partner with Chinese film companies on everything from "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to "Warcraft," a flop in the U.S. and Canada with $47.4 million, but a $220.8 million hit in China.

Films like "The Great Wall" and "Warcraft," however, prove that finding the right balance between American and Chinese tastes remains a difficult balancing act.

For Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, the more significant factor for "The Great Wall" wasn't its multi-national origins but its Rotten Tomatoes rating: a dismal 36 percent "fresh."

"Just like every movie irrespective of country of origin, reviews matter," said Dergarabedian. "Audiences only care about the movie. They don't necessary care where it came from."

Two other new releases, both from 20th Century Fox, also failed to catch on. The comedy "Fist Fight," starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day as feuding high-school teachers, opened with $12 million.

And Gore Verbinski's gothic horror "A Cure for Wellness" — his follow-up to the box-office bomb "The Lone Ranger" — made just $4.2 million, a result that won't help the director's standing in the industry. On Friday, Fox apologized for using fake news stories to promote the film.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "The Batman Lego Movie," $34.2 million ($21.5 million international).

2. "Fifty Shades Darker," $21 million ($43.7 million international).

3. "The Great Wall," $18.1 million ($19 million international).

4. "John Wick: Chapter 2," $16.5 million ($15.6 million international).

5. "Fist Fight," $12 million.

6. "Hidden Figures," $7.1 million ($7.3 million international).

7. "Split," $7 million ($8.9 million international).

8. "A Dog's Purpose," $5.6 million.

9. "La La Land," $4.5 million ($31.7 million international).

10. "A Cure for Wellness," $4.2 million ($4.5 million international).


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Fifty Shades Darker," $43.7 million.

2. "La La Land," $31.7 million.

3. "xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage," $27.6 million

4. "Kung Fu Yoga," $23.3 million.

5. "The Lego Batman Movie," $21.5 million.

6. "The Great Wall," $19 million.

7. "Sing," $18.9 million

8. "John Wick: Chapter 2," $15.6 million.

9. "Split," $8.9 million.

10. "Hidden Figures," $7.3 million.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

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