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Macaulay Culkin joins calls to get Donald Trump cameo removed from Home Alone 2 | Film

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Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin has endorsed social media comments demanding Donald Trump’s cameo in the film’s sequel be digitally removed and replaced with one of an older version of Culkin himself.

Culkin replied to a tweet that asked “petition to digitally replace trump in ‘home alone 2’ with 40-year-old macaulay culkin” with the single word: “Sold.” Culkin then followed up by responding “Bravo” to another tweet that contained a comic edit of Trump replaced by empty space.

Trump appears briefly in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York when Culkin, as its hero Kevin, asks him for directions to the lobby of the Plaza hotel, which Trump owned at the time. In an interview with Insider in December 2020, the film’s director Chris Columbus said that Trump “did bully his way into the movie” by insisting he get a role in the film in return for allowing shooting to take place in the hotel.

Columbus added that Trump’s cameo was a popular move: “When we screened it for the first time the oddest thing happened – people cheered when Trump showed up on screen. So I said to my editor, ‘Leave him in the movie. It’s a moment for the audience.’”

A petition on change.org to replace Trump with Joe Biden had accrued 189 signatures at time of publication.



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Synchronic review – tiresome time-travellers going nowhere | Film

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Here is a squawking, gobbling, factory-farmed turkey, and it’s a shame because its co-creators Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are a film-making duo known for interesting sci-fi horror fantasy. In 2017, they gave us a very intriguing indie movie called The Endless, in which they also starred as two thirtysomething brothers who 10 years previously had been freed from a sinister cult, but make a strange decision to revisit this creepy brotherhood whose world now seems more interesting than their current banal existence.

That was a very atmospheric, if confused film. Sadly, all the problems with it seem to have magnified for this muddled and exasperatingly slow and pointless drama. Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan play Steve and Dennis, two careworn paramedics in New Orleans having to deal with the casualties of a new synthetic drug called Synchronic with time-travel powers. The problem with “imaginary drug” films is that they’re an easy and unearned route to excitement, and only a very rigorously clear and consistent narrative, and preferably a humorous script, can make them work. Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost’s Project Power (2020) was another imaginary-street-drug-in-New-Orleans film that was successful because of bright performances from a cast headed by Jamie Foxx. Similarly, Neil Burger’s Limitless (2011), with Bradley Cooper’s washed-up loser getting a mega-IQ boost from a brain pill, was viable as raucous satire.

But Synchronic is frankly just silly and tedious, with faintly absurd and jeopardy-free time-travel scenes and a dramatic focus hopelessly split between Dennis and Steve’s separate but equally tiresome lives. There is a laugh when Mackie’s exhausted time-traveller comes back to the present and declares to his video diary: “The past fuckin’ sucks, man.” As does so much else.

• Synchronic is available on digital platforms from 29 January.


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Beginning review – shocking but shallow tale of religion and bigotry | Film

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This is the much-admired feature debut of Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili, part of the official selection for last year’s cancelled Cannes film festival, where it might well have been a shock-cinema talking point had the event gone ahead. It is co-produced by the Mexican film-maker Carlos Reygadas, whose influence is very apparent, and the movie as a whole is an intensely, indeed overbearingly, curated and controlled experience. It is a succession of disquieting tableaux, shot mainly from fixed camera positions in which the relevant action can be happening very far away, and one of the speakers can be off-camera for long periods: a cinema in the high style of Haneke, Farhadi and Kiarostami.

Yana (Ia Sukhitashvili) and David (Rati Oneli, the co-writer) are a devout Jehovah’s Witness couple with a child who preside over a newly-built prayer house in a remote community. When a religious meeting is firebombed by bigoted locals, David makes an official complaint to the (equally bigoted) police about their marked lack of effort or interest in finding the culprits, and makes a trip to Tbilisi to discuss matters with community elders. Meanwhile, Yana is left behind and is menaced and assaulted by someone claiming to be a cop.

The central rape scene is very disturbingly shot and there is also what I admit is a potent final sequence, imagining some kind of retribution or spiritual degradation happening to the assailant in geological time. But there is something inert and frankly shallow in the film: a refrigerated mannerism in which rape and religious beliefs are both kinds of arthouse artefact, not made any more authentic or compelling by the suggestions of Yana’s own ambiguous attitude to what has just happened.

Kulumbegashvili’s style is confident, if derivative. Her technique now has to evolve away from these self-conscious influences.

Beginning is available on Mubi from 29 January.


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Would You Eat These 11 Cartoon And Anime Soups?

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What if we kissed…at the Pokémon Cafe?


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