Marvel to Shutter Television Division

Marvel’s television division is officially winding down.

Variety has learned that Marvel Television will no longer be developing any new series beyond the shows that are currently in production. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Marvel will eliminate a number of positions in the near future as a result of the cessation of development at the division. Karim Zreik, senior vice president of current programming and production and members of his team will now join the Marvel Studios group. Zreik will lead the current projects in production. Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb will remain with the division during the transition.

The move to close up shop on Marvel Television was not altogether unexpected, as Variety reported in September that there was a growing perception in the industry that Loeb’s division was on its way out given that Marvel movies boss Kevin Feige was set to produce a number of big budget live-action shows for Disney Plus featuring character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Feige had been promoted to chief creative officer of Marvel and has taken over the Disney-owned company’s storytelling across mediums, including publishing, film, TV, and animation. It was widely believed at that time that Loeb would exit the company within the next few months.

The only Marvel Television live-action show currently in the works is “Helstrom” at Hulu. Hulu had previously ordered a live-action “Ghost Rider” series starring Gabriel Luna as well, but that project was scrapped in September.

Marvel also has four animated shows at Hulu: “Howard the Duck,” “Hit Monkey,” “Tigra & Dazzler,” and “M.O.D.O.K.” All four shows are expected to debut separately before crossing over with “The Offenders” event series. However, news broke last week that the showrunner and writing staff of “Tigra & Dazzler” had departed the show over creative differences. The search for a new showrunner is ongoing.

Fellow Marvel-Hulu series “The Runaways” will end with its upcoming third season, while “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” will end after seven seasons on ABC this spring. All of Marvel Television’s other live-action shows have been canceled in the past year.

Feige’s division — part of the Walt Disney Studios feature-film operation — is currently working on shows centered on characters like Hawkeye, Falcon and Winter Soldier, as well as Loki, and Vision and Scarlet Witch, with shows based on She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight also in the works.

According to sources, multiple Marvel Television and Home & Family Entertainment executives at the vice president level and above outside of Zreik’s team will be replaced as a result of the move. In addition, sources say that Brian Crosby, creative director of Marvel Themed Entertainment, will no longer be working on Marvel projects as part of the Disney parks division, though he will remain with the company.

Also exiting the company is family entertainment chief Cort Lane. A Marvel veteran in charge of television animation, Lane has deep relationships with counterparts in Disney’s corporate-franchises, parks and consumer-products arms, as well as with licensees such as Hasbro and Lego. He is believed to be staying on through January as part of the transition, as Marvel gears up for its first major TV entry in the preschool space, “Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends.”

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‘Dolittle’ star Robert Downey Jr. ‘auditions’ fuzzy friends

These adorable beasts are ready for their close-up.

In a new trailer for “Dolittle,” starring Robert Downey Jr., a string of animated furry beasts, big and small, audition with the “Iron Man” star for roles by re-enacting scenes from movies including “Jaws,” “Notting Hill” and “Despicable Me.”

In the retelling, Downey, 54, stars as famed British physician Dr. John Dolittle, who sets sail for an island with some animal friends to find a cure for a gravely ill member of the royal family.

During the two-minute teaser, released Tuesday by Universal Pictures, a parrot named Polynesia (a k a Polly, voiced by Oscar winner Emma Thompson) takes on a scene from the action flick “The Fast and the Furious,” clearing her throat and declaring with her best Vin Diesel swagger, “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” She then recklessly peels away, squawking, in a miniature red sports car and plows through a pile of cardboard boxes nearby on the studio floor.

“We need her,” says Downey, adding, “and a medic.”

A squirrel named Kevin (Craig Robinson) tries his hand at “Scarface,” sneering Al Pacino’s line, “Say hello to my little friend.” After Downey tells him to be more “threatening,” Kevin lets out a string of Mafia-appropriate profanities. “OK, stop — this is a family movie,” Downey scolds him.

In another scene, Yoshi, a cuddly polar bear played by John Cena, playfully reclines on the ground and asks, “I have nipples, Greg; can you milk me?” — a classic line uttered by Robert De Niro to Ben Stiller in the rom-com “Meet the Parents.”

And Barry the tiger (Ralph Fiennes) lets out his best dinosaur roar that proves a reasonable facsimile for any ferocious beast in “Jurassic Park.”

“Do I have the role? Put me in the movie, or it’s Downey for dessert,” he threatens, as Downey quickly caves in, saying to the unseen cameraman, “Gotcha. He’s perfect.”

Other animals and all-star voices who made the cut include a gorilla named Chee Chee (Rami Malek), Dab-Dab the duck (Octavia Spencer), Plimpton the ostrich (Kumail Nanjiani), a pooch who goes by Jip (Tom Holland), Tutu the fox (Marion Cotillard) and a giraffe named Betsy (Selena Gomez).

“Dolittle” is based on a series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting. The character was previously portrayed by Rex Harrison in 1967’s “Doctor Dolittle” and Eddie Murphy in a 1998 reboot and 2001 sequel. A series of three spinoffs starred Kayla Pratt (“Recovery Road”) as Maya Dolittle, the doctor’s daughter who follows in his footsteps.

“Dolittle” premieres Jan. 17.


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This New Year’s Eve Dress Is Sequin and Velvet Perfection — Sale Ends Soon!


New Year’s Eve is all about the sparkle, the shine and living the luxe life. Whether we’re going to a friend’s party, a bar or club, a family member’s house or hanging out at home, we want the night to feel special. We made it through yet another year, so why shouldn’t we celebrate by getting a little dressed up to commemorate the occasion?

The top two must-haves for NYE outfits are sequins and velvet, of course. We usually choose and commit to one or the other — but this year, we’re doing it big. This is a new decade we’re talking about, so why not both? We found the absolute perfect dress for you to slay in as the clock strikes midnight — and don’t worry, because unlike Cinderella’s, we can keep this one as long as we want!

Get the INC Velvet & Sequin Dress (originally $120) for just $72 at Macy’s! Sale ends December 11, 2019.

We may be able to wear this dress for as long as we want, but grabbing it at 40% off is only a limited-time opportunity. Macy’s famous One Day Sale is back, but as always, we need to act fast to nab our favorites while they’re marked down. That means, like, now!

Shoppers say this short-sleeve dress is “a total beauty” and that the mixed-media style is “just perfect.” Its base is a soft black velvet, and there are shimmery, strategically-placed gold sequins adorning the piece from crew neckline to the hem that hits just above the knees. This dress has a sheath silhouette and an easy on-and-off, with an exposed zip closure in the back — the hardware matching the sequins!

Get the INC Velvet & Sequin Dress (originally $120) for just $72 at Macy’s! Sale ends December 11, 2019.

One common issue with sequined dresses is a noticeable lack of comfort. Sequins are pretty, but they don’t have quite the same feel on our skin as shearling or chenille. They can poke and irritate, turning a fun night into a night of endless adjusting and scratching. That’s why we love the fact that this INC dress is lined — rightfully keeping the sequins as the visual star of the show and nothing more!

The savings on this dress during Macy’s One Day Sale are no joke. We’re not talking five or 10 dollars off — this dress is almost a full $50 off! That’s huge. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother may have had some fashion sense, but we’re heading into 2020 here. If you want to be the belle of the ball, this dress will guarantee you the spot! And some fabulous photos to look back on, of course.

Get the INC Velvet & Sequin Dress (originally $120) for just $72 at Macy’s! Sale ends December 11, 2019.

Not your style? Check out more from INC International Concepts here and other New Year’s Eve dresses available at Macy’s here!

 

Check out more of our picks and deals here!

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

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‘Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 Epitomizes The One Thing That Will Always Separate Midge & Susie

Spoilers for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3. Money looms large in the world of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and that holds especially true for the women, who struggle against the limited amount of financial freedom granted to them in the ’60s. Season 3 forces Midge and her family, for the first time, to confront the cost of their exorbitant lifestyle — and their inability to now afford it. But it’s through Midge and Susie’s relationship that issues of income and class ring clearest. Though their spats are often smoothed over, Season 3 fully demonstrates how much more difficult life is for Susie, and how Midge is still unable to truly empathize with Susie’s lived reality.

As star Rachel Brosnahan tells Bustle, Midge is someone who’s "accustomed to being the center of everyone’s universe," and that undercuts her entire dynamic with Susie, the first friend she made outside of her upper class enclave. Their relationship is genuinely loving — Mrs. Maisel often portrays them as a squabbling old couple, and Midge even bought Susie a ring in Season 2 — but it’s defined by a distinct and unequal power dynamic. Despite Susie being a manager to a rising star, she still lives in poverty, and she’s often at the mercy of Midge’s moods and whims (like when she disappeared to the Catskills for a month, forcing Susie to sneak in as a resort worker).

This imbalance is most exemplified in Season 3 when, in the middle of a USO dance they’re attending at the start of Shy Baldwin’s tour, Midge becomes furious at Susie for managing Sophie Lennon. A talent agent taking on several clients is not unusual — Susie herself is based on Sue Mengers, who managed stars like Barbra Streisand, Michael Caine, Cher, and Joan Collins — and Susie makes it very clear that she’s only working with Midge’s nemesis because she’s literally impoverished.

"My apartment is $40 a month, and I have to sublet it to Jackie," Susie tells Midge desperately. "There’s no choice there. I can’t afford not to." (We learn later that Susie made all of $20 on Midge the prior year.)

She then explains that when Midge makes $4000, she makes only $400 — something Midge doesn’t seem to have even considered. Midge responds with a pointed "f*ck you" before joining a conga line of similarly well-dressed, affluent women, while Susie has to leave to catch a late flight to New York for Sophie.

Midge continues to punish Susie for her decision — to look out for her own well-being, really — in the next episode. She shows up early to a meeting, blames Susie for being late, and leaves before Susie can discuss plans for Shy’s tour. Susie, meanwhile, reaches over and eats from Midge’s leftover soup.

"It’s like she abandoned me … I shouldn’t have to share her," Midge fumes to Imogene in her aerobics class. Though Imogene peppers Midge with several logical questions — Susie makes enough off just you, right? Susie must have savings then? Susie must be making half of the cut of the tour? — Midge never fully realizes that she’s ensuring this unequal relationship continues. Imogene ultimately coddles Midge, agreeing that despite all that, Midge "should be enough" for Susie.

"If Susie wants to become a real manager, she’s going to have to look further than Midge," Susie’s actor Alex Borstein tells Bustle, likening Midge to a petulant child. "I think Midge can’t help but feel like she’s getting less attention. When a mommy has a second kid, no matter how much you dote on number one … they’re still going to feel the pull of the new kid."

Mrs. Maisel is honest in depicting Midge’s childish nature, but it’s ultimately disappointing that even when they make up, Midge never offers to give Susie more of a cut. Sure, Midge’s father lost his job, Rose lost her inheritance, and Midge is shown hustling with radio work, but the Weissmans still have savings, as well as a network of upper class acquaintances who they can fall back on for help, like the Maisels. In comparison, Susie has absolutely no safety net, and she destroys her one liquid asset — her deceased mother’s house — to collect the insurance and make up her gambling debt. (Which likely wouldn’t have even that have arisen if she weren’t so desperate for cash.)

Similarly, though Sophie is disgusted by Susie’s small apartment, she never follows through with her promises to upgrade Susie’s living situation. It’s in this way Mrs. Maisel shows how Midge and Sophie are really just two sides of the same coin: two upper-class, privileged women who don’t understand that their daily frustrations and setbacks are small fry compared to Susie’s, who’s always on the verge of being homeless.

Its ultimately only Sophie who’s punished though; her play backfires spectacularly, and Susie dramatically reprimands her in the streets before reaffirming that Midge is "not her competition" and is "gonna be a goddamn legend" one day. Susie leaving Sophie is meant to be a triumphant moment, but what it really means is Susie’s other reliable source of income is gone, and she’s back to being with just Midge, her dear friend who won’t give her more than 10% of the profits.

It remains to be seen if a fourth season will truly interrogate Midge’s selfishness — particularly in the wake of her getting fired from Shy’s tour — or if Midge will continue to find ways to ignore the issue. The third season ends with Susie breaking down over her newfound gambling problem, while Midge approaches Moishe to buy back her old Upper West Side apartment, with money that it’s implied Susie gambled away.

That’s undoubtedly going to cause a major confrontation, but it’s a necessary one: will Midge finally acknowledge the limits she’s pushed Susie to and do right by her? Midge is at turns loveable, witty, and kind, but her actions towards Susie make it sometimes difficult to sympathize with or even like her. Will Midge finally grow in Season 4, or is she ultimately doomed to become a Sophie: elegant, rich, and cheerfully unbothered by the people who carried her to stardom?

Additional reporting by Brad Witter.

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Kris Bryant’s complicated trade rumors link Cubs star to Nationals, Phillies

The Kris Bryant trade whispers come with an asterisk, but the whispers are starting all the same.

A Bryant trade from the Cubs will not come at the winter meetings as they await to find out the result of the third baseman’s service time grievance. If Bryant and agent Scott Boras are victorious in proving the Cubs manipulated his service time in 2015 then the slugging infielder would become a free agent after next season.

A decision from an arbitrator is not expected for a couple of weeks, but when there is one we are getting an early indication as to who might be interested in acquiring him if Chicago opts to deal him.

“We’re fairly confident in what the outcome is going to be but the timing is a bit frustrating,” Cubs president Theo Epstein told ESPN.com. “It would be nice to know. We’re at the winter meetings and there hasn’t been a ruling. I understand these things take time. It’s not going to be more than a couple weeks away but it would be nice to have that final confirmation.”

The Nationals (via MLB.com) and Phillies (via WSCR) have both been linked to the 27-year-old, who has 138 career home runs in the better part of five seasons with the Cubs. The MLB report indicated that there is a better chance of the Cubs trading Bryant than the Indians trading Francisco Lindor.

The Nationals agreed with pitcher Stephen Strasburg on a seven-year, $245 million deal on Monday, but are not expected to bring back third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Rendon is the top position player in free agency and The Post’s Joel Sherman reported on Monday that the Rangers are a slight favorite to sign him. The Angels and Dodgers have also been linked to him.

The Phillies have already added Zach Wheeler this offseason, but more moves are expected after last offseason’s Bryce Harper commitment.

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Fox to Develop Comedy ‘Kidless’ From ‘Single Parents’ Writer

A single-camera comedy titled “Kidless” is currently in the works at Fox.

The project hails from writer and co-executive producer Mnelik Belilgne and executive producer Jamie Tarses. Belilgne is currently a writer and co-executive producer on the ABC comedy “Single Parents.” He and Tarses previously worked together on the YouTube original comedy series “Champaign ILL” and ABC’s “The Mayor,” on which he was a writer and Tarses was an executive producer.

The series is loosely based on Mnelik’s own parents and their lives post-kids. It is described as an ensemble comedy that follows two married couples, a widow, and a single dad, who must reimagine their lives now that their kids have left the nest.

20th Century Fox Television will co-produce with Fox Entertainment.

It was announced last week that Fox has also set up projects involving Oscar winner Melissa Leo and director Paul Feig. Variety exclusively reported in November that Fox is developing a multi-camera comedy starring Louie Anderson in which Anderson will appear onscreen in a cat costume as the sarcastic household pet of a suburban family.

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British Olympic Association ‘dismayed’ by athletes’ legal challenge

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The British Olympic Association says it is “dismayed” by the “ongoing legal tactics” of top athletes threatening to sue over sponsorship regulations.

Mo Farah, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Laura Muir and Adam Gemili are among those listed as claimants in a legal letter sent to the body.

The athletes argue an International Olympic Committee rule over individual sponsors reduces potential earnings.

The BOA said it is seeking to understand the athletes’ concerns.

Athletes competing in the Olympics are currently bound by the IOC’s ‘Rule 40’, which protects the exclusive rights of official Games partners but prevents athletes promoting their own sponsors.

But top British athletes believe it unfairly prevents them from cashing in on the biggest moment of their sporting careers.

The BOA said it only learned of the legal challenge through the media and is attempting to understand who it is negotiating with – “athletes, agents or commercial organisations”.

The association said it is looking for a positive outcome that “balances the desire for individual athletes to maximise their personal sponsorship revenues with the need to preserve and enhance a system that has collectively sold rights for the benefit of the whole of Team GB”.

It added that includes “smaller sports and less high-profile athletes”.

The BOA said a positive meeting was held with athlete representatives last week, but continued: “Despite those encouraging conversations, we have been dismayed by the ongoing legal tactics being conducted in the background, which in no way reflects the spirit of the discussions held.

“Therefore we have been forced to respond fully and robustly to the legal challenge and have done so in the best interests of all of the athletes we serve and the BOA – a not-for-profit independent organisation that receives no taxpayer or Government funds.

“All monies raised by the BOA are prioritised towards providing athletes with the best support in the performance environment. In the four-year period to Tokyo 2020 we will have taken over 700 athletes to nine multi-sport events, including youth Olympic Games and both senior winter and summer Games.

“We reiterate that it is clearly not in the interest of any party to enter into a protracted legal dispute ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“As such, we continue to act in good faith and make ourselves available for further discussions with a strong desire to find a positive solution for the benefit of all athletes through constructive, open and transparent dialogue.”

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Dog owners confess they would rather have Christmas dinner with their pet than their in-laws

Christmas is about spending time with your family and loved ones, but for some they would prefer to be with their dog.

Pet owners have admitted that they would rather have Christmas dinner with their four-legged best friend than their mother-in-law.

Not only that but dog lovers put their pooch above their other half when it comes to spending quality time together.

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According to research by Sainsbury's 75 per cent of Brits who own pets would prefer to sit next to their dog at the table.

The survey also found that 67 per cent of those eating a big dinner on December 25 sneak morsels of food under the table to any pets hoping for scraps.

Dogs even came top of the guest list for some who voted the family pet the one they were looking to spending more time with during the holidays.

Over half of those surveyed in the UK admitted they would shelling out for a special feast for their pooch.

While a third said they would be splashing out on stuffing their dogs' stocking with presents getting more gifts than their own family members.

Sanj Kaushal, Pet Product Developer for Sainsburys, said: “We know the happiness of our four-legged animals is important, so this year, we want to offer a ‘silver-service’ Christmas dinner experience for our customers’ canine friends and get them involved in the festivities.”

The supermarket will be putting on a special pop-up event in London for three days from 13 December especially for dogs.

Called the Santa Paws Dinner, pet pooches will be able to chow down on festive treats including mince pies for dogs.

The event will be hosted at the Hus Gallery near Regent Street and will include ‘silver service’ with waiters serving bowls of snacks such as Sainsbury’s Festive Dinner for Dogs – a mix of turkey, carrots and sage or a three bird feast of chicken, duck and turkey.

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Not only that but pups will get the chance to have a professional paw-trait by a photographer ready to post on Instagram.

Tickets cost £5 for one owner and one dog and two owners and one dog is £7.50, which covers one 45-minute session, dog treats, a Christmas sandwich and a glass of bubbles.

And if you don't have a dog then Sainsbury's have you covered, hosting a special event on 14 December welcoming those without pets to come down and get a cuddle from a furry friend and hang out.

In store the supermarket are offering pet owners the chance to snap up the festive dinner which comes in a can for £2.50.

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‘Jumanji: The Next Level’: Film Review

When Sony dusted off its 22-year-old “Jumanji” movie for a distant sequel in 2017, it looked to some as though Hollywood had hit rock bottom in terms of pillaging its own properties. In fact, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” proved to be that rare reboot that built upon its initial high concept — a jungle-themed board game that takes over a family’s living room — with a clever new riff, where four mismatched teens, thrust together in detention, are sucked into an old-school video game console, assigned to avatars who are nothing like their real-world personalities.

It was like “The Breakfast Club” with a 21st-century twist, where the nerd becomes Dwayne Johnson’s brawny hero, the popular girl winds up stuck in Jack Black’s body, and so on. More often than not, effects-driven blockbusters get dumber as the series goes along, but “Jumanji: The Next Level” invents some fun ideas to keep things fresh, suggesting that Columbia Pictures is committed to treating the property as a proper franchise — right down to the final scene, which teases an even wilder direction for the story to go from here.

That movie looks like a blast. In the meantime, however, director Jake Kasdan had to make a choice: Either he could conjure a new mix of characters to go on virtual safari, or he could bring back the original players and switch up the alter egos with whom they’re paired in the video game world. Kasdan decides to do both. Collaborating with returning co-writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg on the script, the helmer reassembles the four unlikely friends, back home for the holidays. Rather than stop there, the script also introduces a couple newbies in the form of Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, playing crotchety ex-business partners Eddie and Milo, estranged for 15 years, who happen to be in the house when that cursed cartridge zaps everyone into its perilous parallel reality.

Just before that happens, we learn that the romance between awkward, asthmatic Spencer (Alex Wolff) — the one who got to be “the Rock” last time around — and shy girl Madison (Morgan Turner) didn’t survive freshman year of college, whereas football player Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and social media-obsessed Bethany (Madison Iseman) seem to be thriving in their respective post-high-school pursuits. The filmmakers had to come up with some reason for them to re-enter the game, settling on the notion that Spencer, feeling like a worthless weakling, wanted to spend some more time as the strong, fast, and fearless Dr. Smolder Bravestone.

The game has other plans, which are better left unspoiled here, although it might have been nice for “The Next Level” to explore Spencer’s underlying psychology a bit more. The last two “Jumanji” outings appeal to a collective cultural nostalgia for ’90s-era video games, poking fun at the technical limitations and cliché aspects of that experience (bad exposition, underwritten supporting characters, silly situations). What they ignore is the near-addictive way such games’ more sophisticated successors have come to dominate the lives of those who play them.

What if Spencer, instead of just firing up the dangerous old game on a whim, had been playing it by himself all this time, to the extent that the others had to stage an intervention — by going in after him? There’s no room for anything so serious in “The Next Level,” which instead wants to amuse us with the possibility that its characters might be assigned to different avatars, providing the movie stars who play them an opportunity to channel different (and in some cases, multiple) personalities.

The best thing about “Welcome to the Jungle” was watching Johnson poke fun at his own persona by pretending to be a meek kid suddenly blessed with a movie-star bod and the allure (or “smoldering intensity”) to match. Here, through some fluke of the system that bypasses the character-selection stage, it’s Spencer’s grandpa Eddie (DeVito) who lands in Bravestone’s shoes, while slow-talking fellow oldster Milo (Glover) gets to be Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart).

Johnson’s easily the most bankable action star in Hollywood right now, but he’s got an incredibly narrow range, and asking him to do a Danny DeVito impersonation has unintentionally hilarious results. At times, he sounds like he’s trying to do a British accent; at others, he sounds like a cross between Barbra Streisand and Elaine Stritch. It boggles the mind: Did Johnson actually spend any time with DeVito developing the character? Was his entire performance based on another actor, who was then recast after Johnson’s part was in the can?

Hart does a better job of convincing us that his know-it-all zoologist has been possessed by a rambling old fogey, who parcels out key facts too slowly to be of any use, while Black (whose default setting is “overacting”) exaggerates the frustration that a black athlete like Fridge would feel trapped in the position of an out-of-shape white guy such as Shelly Oberon, the group’s map-reading (but otherwise useless) comic relief. Somehow, Madison managed to return to the same avatar she had before, Lara Croft-like teammate — and “killer of men” — Ruby Roundhouse, although another twist slightly later in the story will allow players to swap avatars. The sequel also gets a couple new characters, including a cat burglar named Ming, played by Awkwafina, who proves the most entertaining in her multiple-personality reinterpretations of the role.

Clearly, “The Next Level” could be confusing for anyone who hasn’t seen the original (references to cake as one of Mouse’s weaknesses serve as an inside joke to returning viewers), although it helps that Milo and Eddie don’t understand what’s happening to them, allowing the others to shout the rules as they go along. If you’ve ever tried to play a video game with someone of your grandparents’ generation, you’ll appreciate the exasperation the repeat players feel toward these absurd exchanges — which mirror how any catch-up conversation would go in which “Jumanji” fans tried to explain the plot of this movie to an oblivious older relative.

“Jumanji” may have begun as a jungle game, but now it’s expanded to include David Lean-ian desert challenges (a dune buggy chase from a herd of angry ostriches) and an elaborate medieval finale clearly inspired by “Game of Thrones” (right down to the casting of Rory McCann as grimy new villain Jurgen the Brutal). Kasdan amps up the violence and intensity in “The Next Level,” although the players each have three lives apiece, which undermines the stakes of all that flashy computer-generated peril — a plus for younger audiences, assuming parents don’t take issue with death being treated as a joke.

For the most part, the film’s values are in the right place, and apart from a few off-color bits (about penis size and sexual prowess), the humor serves the greater goal of looking past one’s physical limitations and respecting friendships in whatever form they take. The storytelling may be sloppy in parts, but the cast’s collective charisma more than compensates. As the saying goes: Don’t hate the players, hate the game.

'Jumanji: The Next Level': Film Review

Reviewed at the Grove, Los Angeles, Dec. 9, 2019. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 123 MIN.

Production:A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach Prods., Radar Pictures, Seven Bucks Prods. production. Producers: Matt Tolmach, Jake Kasdan, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia. Executive producers: David Householter, Melvin Mar, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, William Teitler, Ted Field, Mike Weber.

Crew:Director: Jake Kasdan. Screenplay: Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Camera (color, widescreen): Gyula Pados. Editors: Steve Edwards, Mark Helfrich, Tara Timpone. Music: Henry Jackman.

With:

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan

Music By: , Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner,  Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito.

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Moussa Sissoko disagrees with Jose Mourinho over his best position but hails Tottenham boss for man-management – The Sun

MOUSSA SISSOKO has revealed that he disagrees with manager Jose Mourinho's assessment of his best position.

The Frenchman has played in a number of different roles this season for Spurs, including central midfield, right midfield and even right back.

But after the defeat against Manchester United last week, Mourinho said of his position: "I don’t think he’s a midfield player in a core position, number six or a double six.

"I think the best position for Moussa is when the team plays with a positional midfielder and he has freedom to go, or from the right like he did against Bournemouth."

The 30-year-old, however, doesn't agree with his manager's assessment.

He told the Standard: "I haven't spoken to him about [my position] but I saw [what he said].

"He's the manager, so if he says to me to play as a number six or at the front or on the right side, I will do my best.

"I know I'm capable to play every role. At the end [against Burnley], I even played right-back.

"But to be in the middle of the pitch is my best position. If it's Number six, number eight, number ten, it doesn't matter, but I like to be in the centre. For the team I will do everything the manager asks me."

Since Mourinho's arrival, Sissoko has shocked fans by turning into a goal-scoring midfielder.

Having scored two in his last three games, strikes against Bournemouth and Burnley, Sissoko put an end to an astonishing run of 69 league matches without a goal.

And he believes that the new manager has instilled new belief in the squad.

He said: "[Mourinho] has given belief to everyone.

"Everyone knows we were in a difficult situation and the confidence was very low, so he tried to speak to everyone, to give everyone confidence, to be close to everyone.

"He knows I'm a player who likes to go box-to-box. I can score a few goals every year, so he said to me to just play my game, to go forward when I can and see if I can score.

"I scored because I was in the box. Maybe in the past I was deeper and didn't try. Hopefully I can score a few more goals."

Spurs face Bayern Munich tomorrow night in Germany, and Mourinho is expected to give some of his younger players an opportunity to shine.

The likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Oliver Skipp, Troy Parrott and Japhet Tanganga could feature against the Bundesliga giants.

The big-hitters will then return for the weekend's tricky trip to Wolves.

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