‘Overlord,’ the J.J. Abrams-produced WWII monster movie, is a hit

‘Overlord,’ the J.J. Abrams-produced WWII monster movie, is a hit
Jovan Adepo as Boyce, an American soldier fighting Nazis in 'Overlord.'
Jovan Adepo as Boyce, an American soldier fighting Nazis in ‘Overlord.’

Image: paramount

2017%2f04%2f25%2f1f%2fpkheadshotsmallcopy.7f1bcBy Proma Khosla

Director Julius Avery’s Overlord screened for the first time at Fantastic Fest on Saturday, and the jam-packed war thriller has audiences buzzing with excitement. Collider praises the film’s blend of gore and drama and its commitment to genre. The trailer offers enough to pique our interest – World War II but with super-soldier monsters – but early reactions promise one hell of a ride.

SEE ALSO: Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ is seriously messing with people’s heads

Overlord is a blast. It’s a men-on-a-mission, behind-enemy-lines, one-goal WW2 movie, with creepy creature stuff spread throughout. Good characters, great set pieces, a ton of fun. #FantasticFest

— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) September 23, 2018

OVERLORD!!! Whoa! Bad ass men on a mission WW2 film meets powerhouse Lovecraftian horror! Hits all the buttons!

— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) September 23, 2018

OVERLORD is a headbutt to the face kinda flick. This movie comes for ur neck in the opening shot & it doesn’t let up once. If you peeped the trailer you know what this is but make no mistake Avery FULLY commits to the WW2 drama & the zombie craziness!! And both efforts are 🔥!!

— Jacqueline @FantasticFest (@THATJacqueline) September 23, 2018

OVERLORD is solid wish-fulfillment “kill some evil Nazis” fantasy, mixed with an old-school war movie, with some REANIMATOR thrown in for good measure. The action beats are great, but Jovan Adepo as the sensitive lead who has to go grim really sold me on the movie. #FantasticFest pic.twitter.com/QRxWHsZCK5

— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) September 23, 2018

Overlord: Man, what a FUN fucking movie. The kind of gore laden, big budget, B-Movie Perfection we’ve so desperately needed. Inglourious Basterds meets Indiana Jones meets Re-Animator. Also, FANTASTIC cast. #FantasticFest

— Josh Lobo (@IAmJoshLobo) September 23, 2018

It’s amazing that something as gory and unapologetically exploitation-y as Overlord is being released wide. Filmed as an A-picture, taken seriously by all involved which makes the insanity that follows grounded enough to not be silly. Very happy with this one.

— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) September 23, 2018

There are a surprising number of nazi zombie movies. OVERLORD is by far the best and most fun. Part WWII man on a mission movie, part Frankenstein zombie movie, all fun. See this one big and loud when you get the chance. pic.twitter.com/CpG5LP3hcC

— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) September 23, 2018

Between #AQuietPlace and #Overlord, give Paramount some cred for taking a chance on two great genre movies this year. Both are completely different, but both feel fresh and bring something new to the table

— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) September 23, 2018

Overlord was a nightmare ride on hell highway, chained to the back of a monster truck driven by pure adrenaline. @fantasticfest

— Steve Zaragoza of The Valleyfolk (@stevezaragoza) September 23, 2018

New Pokémon with a nut for a head is a big mystery in ‘Pokémon Go’

New Pokémon with a nut for a head is a big mystery in ‘Pokémon Go’

Something new is happening in Pokémon Go.

A mysterious critter has appeared in the game, and it’s something Pokémon fans have never seen before. It was first discovered when a programming-savvy fan found an image and a reference to “Pokémon 891” in the game’s code.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon fans are freaking out after realizing Venusaur is a frog

The newcomer has the body of a sheet-covered ghost and a nut — the hardware, not the legume — for a head, with one eye staring out of its central hole. It doesn’t have a name and no one’s been able to catch one (not exactly), but it’s definitely appearing in the game now. 

It’s not that the unnamed Pokémon can’t be caught, but when players do manage to snare one they’re greeted with a surprise. The nut-headed critter transforms into Ditto, a shapeless purple blob Pokémon that is unique in that it doesn’t evolve like others of its kind.

That’s what multiple players have reported on the popular Pokémon Go subreddit. The posts there also suggest that the new creature could be coming and going in waves, appearing in abundance for short periods of time before disappearing.

None of this is confirmed, mind you; it’s all anecdotal at this point. All of the sightings seem to have a connection to Chikorita Community Day events that went down in the Asia Pacific and European regions. Official or not, the number of fans reporting in with similar stories suggests at least some of this is right.

The only word from inside the Pokémon camp so far is a tweet from Kento Suga, the global marketing lead for Pokémon Go. And his post only adds to the mystery. (You can see what the newcomer looks like in Suga’s attached screenshot.)

What does all of this mean? No one knows yet. But it sure looks like Pokémon Go is cooking up a surprise.

Alyssa Milano puts a point on #WhyIDidntReport in a powerful new essay

Alyssa Milano puts a point on #WhyIDidntReport in a powerful new essay
Actress Alyssa Milano at the premiere of Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 11/9' in Los Angeles.
Actress Alyssa Milano at the premiere of Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ in Los Angeles.

Image: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

2017%2f04%2f25%2f1f%2fpkheadshotsmallcopy.7f1bcBy Proma Khosla

The #MeToo movement received a jolt this weekend with the new hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, prompted by Donald Trump’s pushback on allegations raised by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Actress Alyssa Milano was among the staggering number of people who tweeted heartbreaking personal stories of being sexually assaulted and choosing not to report it for any number of reasons. In a new essay for Vox, Milano unpacks the stigma of reporting sexual assault and how reactions like Trump’s and Kavanaugh’s are exactly why survivors are so scared to come forward.

SEE ALSO: After Trump lashes out, sexual assault survivors share #WhyIDidntReport

Hey, @realDonaldTrump, Listen the fuck up.

I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell me parents.

If any survivor of sexual assault would like to add to this please do so in the replies. #MeToo https://t.co/n0Aymv3vCi

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) September 21, 2018

“Victims of sexual assault often don’t report what happened because they know all too well that our stories are rarely taken seriously or believed — and that when it comes to sexual misconduct, our justice system is broken,” writes Milano, who described current events with Kavanaugh as the worst nightmare of sexual assault survivors.

“This is the reality for survivors of sexual assault: our journey begins in fear and … it continues in fear for the rest of our lives.”

“For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker’s existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this Earth at all. This is what every survivor goes through. Telling our stories means being vulnerable to public attacks and ridicule when our only ‘crime’ was to be assaulted in the first place.”

She encourages readers to explore the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag and read survivors’ stories, difficult though they are. Milano herself is a vocal social activist and working on mobilizing voters in the midterm election.

She concludes the essay with explicit support for Ford and a denouncement of Trump and Kavanaugh. And she has a message for her fellow survivors: “You are valuable. You are human. You are important.”

“The courage of survivors will always be stronger than Donald Trump’s hate,” Milano opens her essay. That has been proven time and time again – that an upswell of voices against misuse of power can and will rise, but it is up to us collectively to make sure they do not get swept away.

The threat to Central America’s prosecutors

The threat to Central America’s prosecutors

ON MAY 7th hundreds of officials gathered in the ballroom of the Camino Real hotel in Guatemala City to pay tribute to Thelma Aldana, who was stepping down at the end of her four-year term as the country’s attorney-general. A Powerpoint presentation touted her prosecutorial feats. They included jailing the country’s president, Otto Pérez Molina (pictured) in 2015, and the vice-president, Roxana Baldetti. Last year she began an investigation of the current president, Jimmy Morales, on suspicions that he had paid for his campaign illegally. The front-row seat intended for him was empty.

The corruption that Ms Aldana pursued is not new. In Guatemala, as in the other countries in Central America’s “northern triangle”, El Salvador and Honduras, it infects the highest levels of government. Attorneys-general have mostly ignored the crimes of the politicians who appoint them. This contributes to the lawlessness and violence that impel people to flee the region and go to the United States.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

But in all three countries recent holders of that office have fought impunity. Prosecutors in Honduras uncovered embezzlement at state agencies. In El Salvador a former president is in jail, another fled to Nicaragua and a third died before his trial. The region’s prosecutors have become “effectively a fourth branch of government”, says Charles Call of American University in Washington, DC. In Guatemala and Honduras they have had vital support from anti-corruption agencies backed by the UN and other international bodies.

Their successes are fragile. By early next year the three countries will have new chief prosecutors. El Salvador is due to replace five supreme-court justices. Politicians want to appoint tamer successors. The United States, which has helped in the fight against corruption, is retreating from the fray. All this threatens progress.

Northern tangle

The main target in Guatemala is the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), the UN-backed agency that helped Ms Aldana lock up the former president. Its enemies are getting help from an unexpected quarter: Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida.

CICIG was set up in 2006 to help prosecutors dismantle “illegal security organisations” and related networks of businessmen and politicians. It has the backing of more than 70% of Guatemalans. Mr Morales, a comedian who had never held office, was elected in 2015 on a promise to fight the graft that CICIG and Ms Aldana uncovered. But when they scrutinised the financing of his campaign, he struck back. In August he tried to expel from the country CICIG’s boss, Iván Velásquez, but relented in the face of protests.

Mr Morales has a new ally in Mr Rubio, a member of the Senate’s appropriations committee, which authorises the American contribution to CICIG. That help is part of the United States’ strategy to discourage illegal migration by bolstering the rule of law. On May 4th Mr Rubio suspended the $6m grant, nearly half the agency’s budget.

He is taking his cue from Bill Browder, a foe of Vladimir Putin who contends that Russia is manipulating CICIG. Mr Browder bases that claim on CICIG’s role in prosecuting the Bitkov family, who have antagonised President Putin. The Bitkovs were given harsh sentences for using false documents to get residency in Guatemala. No other compelling evidence has emerged to support Mr Browder’s claim. A Guatemalan court recently ordered the Bitkovs’ retrial. Mr Rubio cut off the money anyway.

Some Guatemalans think he and Mr Browder are unwitting pawns of CICIG’s enemies. “Someone astutely planted the seed,” says a business lobbyist. Mr Rubio’s attack on CICIG may make it easier for Mr Morales to force out its director or let its mandate expire next year. The fight against corruption would then depend on Ms Aldana’s successor, María Consuelo Porras.

She is not well known. Her career as a judge and prosecutor suggests that she can do the job. “We’re giving her the benefit of the doubt,” says Helen Mack, a human-rights activist. Ms Porras will benefit from progress made during the CICIG era, including better prosecutors. But, like Ms Aldana, she will have to choose between CICIG and a tainted president, says Ms Mack.

In Honduras the battle may already be lost. The president, Juan Orlando Hernández, controls most of the country’s institutions, including the judiciary. Political control of the attorney-general’s office weakened for a time after the discovery in 2013 of massive corruption at the social-security agency. Protests led to the creation in 2016 of MACCIH, a CICIG-like commission with weaker powers, under the aegis of the Organisation of American States. It has investigated corruption allegations against congressmen and a former first lady, in partnership with the attorney-general, Óscar Chinchilla. Political elites fought back after Mr Hernández was re-elected last November. Though the vote was widely thought to be fraudulent, the United States endorsed it. In January Honduras’s congress passed a law that transfers investigations of the misuse of public funds from prosecutors to an audit body influenced by the president. MACCIH’s chief, Juan Jiménez Mayor, quit in February. Mr Hernández has not replaced him.

He is in a bigger hurry to replace Mr Chinchilla, whose term ends in September. Most of the 26 candidates have ties to the president’s National Party. One is rumoured to be involved in organised crime. Whoever is appointed, argues Edmundo Orellana, a former attorney-general, for MACCIH “it’s over.”

El Salvador’s attorney-general, Douglas Meléndez, has no help from an outside agency. He got the job in 2016 because the two main political parties, the left-wing FMLN and the right-wing Arena, could not agree on anyone else. He surprised them by going after former presidents from both parties: Tony Saca, from Arena, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of public money; Mauricio Funes, from the FMLN, who fled to Nicaragua in 2016 when prosecutors began investigating him for illegal enrichment; and Francisco Flores (Arena), who was accused of embezzling millions of dollars meant for earthquake relief. After Flores died in early 2016, Mr Meléndez filed a suit against his estate.

Mr Meléndez has been criticised for self-promotion and for prosecuting more FMLN officials than Arena ones. But he is vastly better than his predecessor, Luis Martínez, who is in jail. The United States embassy has backed Mr Meléndez strongly. Arena, which gained control of congress in an election in March, has signalled that it may try to reappoint him when his term ends in December.

A bigger worry is who will replace five supreme-court justices in July. Four of them have been unusually feisty in defending human rights and loosening the stranglehold on politics of the two big parties. An international panel of experts will help vet the candidates to succeed them but congress will make the final choice. The parties regret naming independent-minded judges in 2009. “They won’t make that mistake again,” says Abraham Abrego of Cristosal, a human-rights group. In the northern triangle, a golden age of judicial independence may be ending.

%

Next time someone annoys you on Tinder, rock this Halloween ‘ghosted’ costume

Next time someone annoys you on Tinder, rock this Halloween ‘ghosted’ costume
2016%2f09%2f16%2fe5%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzew.e9fc9By Heather Dockray

Ghosts are everywhere — in haunted houses and on our most popular dating apps.

That’s why Party City has developed an adult ghosting costume for women. Plenty of women have encountered someone who just won’t stop bothering them on dating apps or over text.

Might as well “ghost” them in real life.

SEE ALSO: Here’s a sexy ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Halloween costume that no one asked for

The costume is now available for $24.99 on the Party City website. As of now, there is only a women’s costume.

“If someone’s blowing up your phone, ghost them in a Ghosted Costume for women!” the Party City description reads. “The costume is a hooded white dress designed to look like a ghost with a series of unanswered texts on the front.”

It’s not the most inventive design, but it has deep emotional appeal.

Twitter’s reactions were, uh, mixed:

Whatever you think of this costume, it’s at least better the sexy ebola costume of 2014. For that, we should be grateful.

Tim Cook reportedly behind Apple’s lame, sanitized television production plans

Tim Cook reportedly behind Apple’s lame, sanitized television production plans

Apple has all the money in the world, but as the disastrous Planet of the Apps proved, money is no substitute for good taste. 

The 2017 reality show from the makers of your favorite $1,449 phone pitted app developers against each other for the approval of their celebrity ring masters, and in doing so kept clear of all the hallmarks of many of today’s most popular shows: Sex, drugs, profanity, and violence. That appears to have been very much by CEO Tim Cook’s design, who the Wall Street Journal reports has made it very clear that shows produced by Apple should be wholesome affairs. 

SEE ALSO: Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ totally gets kids are just a speed bump on the road to will.i.am

Case in point is the ill-fated Vital Signs, which was to be Apple’s first scripted drama. According to the Journal, Cook was turned off by the show’s depiction of drug use and sex, and as a result he killed the series. We’re not sure why anyone thought a show about Dr. Dre would be free of sex and drugs, but hey, Mr. Cook, you do you. 

This, shall we say, delicate approach to programming is purportedly driven by the Apple CEO’s desire to protect the larger Apple brand. 

“Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence,” the Journal reports. 

Of course, this puts its potential shows at odds with hits like Westworld, Game of Thrones, and The Handmaid’s Tale

So what does Cook like? That would be Friday Night Lights and Madame Secretary, “people he has spoken with about it” told the Wall Street Journal

This seems to line up with the fact that even the small bits of profanity originally contained within Planet of the Apps had to be cut. 

Which, hey, not everyone can be right about everything. And when it comes to what makes for good TV, it would seem that Tim Cook most certainly has at least one blind spot. 

So the next time you turn on an Apple produced show, only to find your mind wandering in an extreme state of boredom, you’ll know who to thank. 

This Tesla key fob looks like, you guessed it, a mini Tesla Model 3

This Tesla key fob looks like, you guessed it, a mini Tesla Model 3

Tesla likes to do things differently. 

So when Electrek reported last month that the electric car company was allegedly working on a new key fob for its Model 3, we should have known it wouldn’t be just your standard blob of a BLE device. Thanks to newly released documents filed to the FCC, we now know that’s exactly right. 

SEE ALSO: Your Tesla is probably vulnerable to hackers, but there’s an easy fix

According to the filing, the as-of-yet-unreleased fob is actually shaped like a mini Model 3. Basically, it looks like the most expensive Hot Wheels car you never owned. 

Vroom.

Vroom.

Image: tesla / fcc

A photo of the fob’s underside clearly shows that the design is an explicit call out to the Model 3. 

Belly up.

Belly up.

Image: tesla / fcc

As Engadget notes, the Model 3 does not currently come with a fob at all. Instead, car owners rely on their smartphones or a keycard to unlock and start the ride. 

Interestingly, the Model S, unlike the Model 3, does have a key fob. Unfortunately though, that key fob was recently shown to be vulnerable to hackers. Thankfully, Tesla provided owners an easy fix — the ability to set a PIN code on the car — that we imagine could also be used to protect the Model 3 from any potential vulnerabilities in the fob.  

There’s no word yet on when the new key fob will be released, but when it does expect to see lots of annoying people pushing them across their desks while making “vroom” sound effects. 

Watch this brave lil’ raccoon climb up building, leap off, and survive

Watch this brave lil’ raccoon climb up building, leap off, and survive
Don't. Mess. With. This. Face.
Don’t. Mess. With. This. Face.

Image: Valery Matytsin/TASS/getty images

2016%2f09%2f16%2fe5%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzew.e9fc9By Heather Dockray

Sorry cats, but when it comes to climbing tall buildings, you’ve got nothing compared to raccoons.

In Ocean City, New Jersey Friday, a raccoon was spotted a jaw-dropping nine stories up a building. The raccoon proceeded to leap off the building, hit the soft sand with its little raccoon feet, and scamper away.

SEE ALSO: A carb-loving raccoon broke into a woman’s home and ate all of her bread

Watch this little acrobat in action:

DAREDEVIL RACCOON: Incredible video shows a raccoon climbing roughly nine stories up a building off the Ocean City Boardwalk. It then appears to turn around and jump from the building, spiraling toward the ground. Then it gets up and walks away…

MORE: https://t.co/a7MU4FnFDT pic.twitter.com/njbzrFcWTF

— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) September 21, 2018

Twitter reacted with shock — and explanations:

raccoons have a natural instinct to climb! while it isnt normal to climb buildings like this, they will climb things like trees too. sometimes they use trees as shelter, so maybe they are trying to find the same purpose with these buildings

— cass ♥ (@c022idy) September 22, 2018

Raccoons aren’t completely nocturnal. So them being out during the day is fairly normal…buuut they’re usually just looking for food or something…this one seemed to be scaling a building for no reason so lol

— Joshua Lawson (@theswagsauceguy) September 22, 2018

Racoon was very smart, it spread his body out causing drag, if you freeze it right before it lands, it puts all 4 feet down and muscles were ready to dampen fall. Similar to cats, neither animals terminal velocity is anywhere near as high as a human and can survive high falls.

— Joseph Jaynes (@FallenHero32) September 21, 2018

This isn’t the first time a raccoon has been spotted climbing a tall building. In June, a raccoon climbed to the top of a 25-story skyscraper. It was then captured and released safely into the wild.

Where I’m from, raccoons were known for digging into the good trash at McDonald’s and giving kids rabies. I’m so glad people get to see the other, better, braver side of raccoons.

Ted Cruz’s latest dig at Beto O’Rourke on Twitter might be his vilest yet

Ted Cruz’s latest dig at Beto O’Rourke on Twitter might be his vilest yet
Cruz's tweets have hit a moral rock bottom
Cruz’s tweets have hit a moral rock bottom

Image: tom fox/2018 Getty Images

2016%2f09%2f16%2fe5%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzew.e9fc9By Heather Dockray

Ted Cruz’s social media team has reached a dark new low.

Right before Senate hopeful Beta O’Rourke’s debate with Cruz last night, where the sitting Senator skirted the question about whether police violence against African-Americans was a problem, Cruz released a seemingly innocuous video on Twitter featuring O’Rourke.

In it, Beto denounces the murder of Botham Jean, who was mysteriously killed in his apartment by an off-duty police officer.

SEE ALSO: Internet roasts Texas GOP for allegedly sharing this ‘edgy’ photo of Ted Cruz

Botham Shem Jean, who is black, was unarmed at the time of his death. It’s unclear why his neighbor, a white off-duty police officer, entered his apartment and proceeded to shoot him. The case is ongoing.

Of all the videos Cruz could have shown of O’Rourke, he chose to share this one — in which the candidate denounces a seemingly cold-blooded murder, all while in a black church.

What, Twitter wanted to know, was so bad about Beto’s stand?

Republicans like Ted Cruz get fake mad when anyone points out Republican politics is driven by appeals to race panic, and then pull unsubtle crap like this. https://t.co/P8J7y7uf5Y

— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) September 22, 2018

I know how badly we want this to be another Classic Ted Cruz Self Own, but consider the possibility that he knows exactly what he’s doing here. https://t.co/1QNg0JgrsY

— Tyler HuckaKree (@TylerHuckabee) September 22, 2018

TED CRUZ’S OPPO GUY: Amazing news…I found an old video of Beto rushing into a burning building to save a puppy. Neighbors are cheering and crying and Beto looks very humble

CRUZ: This is why I pay you five million dollars per year

— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) September 22, 2018

Honestly, this tweet is far worse than the one Cruz liked about porn.

Here’s a video of O’Rourke playing the air drums to cleanse your moral palette:

Google is trying, and failing, to cover its creepy Chinese search engine tracks

Google is trying, and failing, to cover its creepy Chinese search engine tracks

Google wants the world’s information to be universally accessible, unless that information just so happens to relate to its reported efforts to build a censored Chinese search engine that tracks its users.

According to the Intercept, which first broke the story of the project codenamed Dragonfly in early August, the Mountain View-based search and advertising giant is going to great lengths to keep information about its plans secret — even from its own employees. 

SEE ALSO: Google’s secret China censorship project shares a name with Sergey Brin’s mega-yacht

The latest example of the company’s attempt to squash even internal debate about the heavily criticized plans comes in the form of an internal memo. Specifically, the forced deletion of it. The memo, reportedly written by a Google engineer, detailed how the Chinese search engine would track users’ locations, force them to login, and give “unilateral access” to a third-party Chinese partner.

The Chinese government has a well known history of going after journalists, human rights workers, and dissidents. Knowing what everyone in the country is Googling would seem to be another potential tool in Beijing’s repressive tool belt. 

The aforementioned memo allegedly provided details on the search engine, and was passed around by various engineers. When Google found out, the Intercept reports, its human resources department went into overdrive in an attempt to limit the memo’s spread. 

This effort included emailing everyone who had seen the document, and demanding they delete any saved copies. 

Maybe the company was afraid we would find out that, according to the memo, its Chinese search engine would allow a partner in China to “selectively edit search result pages … unilaterally, and with few controls seemingly in place.”

We reached out to Google in an effort to confirm both the Intercept’s reporting of the memo’s content, and the news that Google forced employees to delete it. We received no response as of press time. 

It’s almost as if Google believes that its own mission statement, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” doesn’t apply to its own heavily criticized plans.