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‘Alita: Battle Angel’ movie finally arrives, to lukewarm reviews

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'Alita: Battle Angel' movie finally arrives, to lukewarm reviews

LONDON (Reuters) – Some 15 years in the making and after multiple delays, sci-fi epic “Alita: Battle Angel” finally arrived on Thursday, but the Japanese manga-inspired action film earned only lukewarm reviews.

FILE PHOTO: Honoree Robert Rodriguez poses during 2014 NCLR ALMA Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California October 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

The tale of a cyborg heroine in a post-apocalyptic world, “Alita: Battle Angel” was a passion project for acclaimed “Avatar” director James Cameron for years before he turned it over to director Robert Rodriguez.

Speaking at the world premiere in London on Thursday, Rodriguez said Cameron, who first wrote a script in 2004, had crafted “a story that could really play around the world, even to people who don’t know manga.”

“It’s a more universal story than I think people are expecting,” the director told Reuters.

Rodriguez has said the movie’s budget was around $150 million. The release date was pushed back twice by Hollywood studio Twenty-First Century Fox.

Early reviews were largely disappointing.

While praising the film’s slick action sequences and the expressive, huge-eyed Alita – who is played by actress Rosa Salazar with CGI effects – many movie critics found the characters thinly developed.

Britain’s Independent newspaper said “Alita” lacked the emotional pull of Cameron’s other blockbusters, “Avatar” and “Titanic.” Hollywood website The Wrap called the movie “a glossy muddle” while Britain’s Guardian newspaper said it was “a vanilla dystopian romance.”

Los Angeles-based IndieWire was more enthusiastic, saying the film “lives up to its potential while leaving you wanting more.”

Manga movies have proved a hard sell to Western filmgoers in the past, but Cameron, who retains a writing and producing credit, said on Thursday that “Alita” was different.

“We know the film is a crowd pleaser. We know that for sure. Now, we know the audience will go with her (Alita) on her journey and believe in her and feel her spirit,” he said.

The movie has also faced criticism for not casting Asian actors in the lead parts.

Yukito Kishiro, who wrote the original graphic novels, said on Thursday he did not share the misgivings.

“I think it’s a perfect cast. Had they had, say, a Japanese actress who can act the great action scenes, sure. But I suppose the casting people decided to go with what we have because there is a reason for that. I’m happy with that,” Kishiro told Reuters on the London red carpet.

“Alita: Battle Angel” opens in the UK on Feb. 6 and in the United States on Feb. 14.

Writing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by James Dalgleish

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Critics gush over the spectacle and story of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

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Critics gush over the spectacle and story of 'Avengers: Endgame'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Film critics unleashed overwhelmingly positive reviews on Tuesday of “Avengers: Endgame,” the highly anticipated final installment in a decade-long superhero story from Walt Disney Co’s Marvel Studios.

Actors Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige pose for a picture during a ceremony to place their handprints in cement, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

As of Tuesday afternoon, all but one of 56 “Endgame” reviews collected by the Rotten Tomatoes website were rated as positive.

USA Today’s Brian Truitt called the three-hour film “Marvel’s glorious greatest-hits package” with callbacks to previous adventures that will thrill fans who have faithfully followed characters such as Iron Man and Thor.

“It’s also a singular, sprawling and hugely satisfying tale that begins with a brutal, emotional gut punch and takes you on quite the trip with the original Avengers crew,” Truitt said.

“Endgame” concludes a story that has unfolded over 21 previous films since 2007 and become the highest-grossing franchise in movie history. It picks up where last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” left fans hanging when several beloved heroes appeared to turn to dust.

CNN’s Brian Lowry said “Endgame” delivered a worthy finale.

“The filmmakers have sought to reward movie-goers with a spectacle that’s epic in every way,” Lowry said.

“The overall journey not only produces several genuine surprises – no small feat in this context – but plenty of humor, with an assortment of lighter moments to augment the stirring and, yes, emotional ones,” he added.

A.O. Scott of The New York Times said the movie provided the “sense of an ending,” even though many characters are expected to return in future films, and “a chance to appreciate what has been done before the timelines reset and we all get back to work.”

“We’ve lived with these characters and the actors playing them for more than a decade,” Scott wrote. “For the most part, it’s nice to see them again, and a little sad to say goodbye.”

Box office experts say “Endgame” may break the opening weekend record for ticket sales in the United States and Canada, which now stands at $257.7 million for “Infinity War.”

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chris Reese

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‘Jeopardy!’ champ breaks record, surpasses $1 million in shortest time ever

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'Jeopardy!' champ breaks record, surpasses $1 million in shortest time ever

“Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer has just broken another record.

On Tuesday’s episode, the 34-year-old surpassed $1 million in the shortest time ever.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

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Kristin Cavallari says she doesn’t feel the ‘support’ from Jay Cutler: ‘We gotta get back on the same page’

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Kristin Cavallari says she doesn't feel the 'support' from Jay Cutler: ‘We gotta get back on the same page’

Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are trying to work on their marriage issues.

In a clip from this Sunday’s “Very Cavallari” episode, the couple is seen talking about the current state of their relationship while taking a boat ride.

“Listen, the other day, you know how we had the conversation about how I haven’t really been able to make time for you?” Cavallari, 32, asks her husband of nearly six years. “So I left that conversation and I was thinking about it and I was kind of like, ‘Hang on a second. Why is this all my fault?'”

KRISTIN CAVALLARI ADMITS SHE AND JAY CUTLER HAVE ‘PROBLEMS’ IN THEIR MARRIAGE 

Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari are pictured here during the "Uncommon James" launch on April 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif. In a clip from this Sunday's "Very Cavallari" episode, the couple try to work on their marriage issues. 

Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari are pictured here during the “Uncommon James” launch on April 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif. In a clip from this Sunday’s “Very Cavallari” episode, the couple try to work on their marriage issues. 
(Jason LaVeris/Getty Images)

“I just didn’t feel like that was very fair,” the reality star admits before going on to explain that she doesn’t feel like Cutler, 35, supports her.

“I feel like if you were really supportive and really encouraging of everything I have going on, I would want to make time for you,” she admitted. “It would be a different situation, but I feel like everything I have going on is a problem.”

The former Chicago Bears quarterback agreed with his wife. “Yep. I just gotta do a better job. You’re consumed with [Uncommon James] and you should be. That’s how you’re going to be successful and that’s how you’re going to run a good business.

“It is a lot of change this year,” he continued. “You going from 0 to 60 and I just gotta deal with it.”

KRISTIN CAVALLARI WANTS TO SEE A ‘HILLS’ AND ‘VERY CAVALLARI’ CROSSOVER EPISODE

In 2017, Cavallari launched her Nashville-based jewelry company Uncommon James, which quickly expanded to a home line, Uncommon James Home, and a children’s collection, Little James.

The E! personality also noted that she and her husband, who last played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins in 2017, “have basically switched roles.”

“For sure. Completely,” Cutler acknowledged. “Whenever I was playing football you didn’t pressure me.”

KRISTIN CAVALLARI SAYS JAY CUTLER UNCLOGGED HER MILK DUCTS IN TMI CLIP

“When you were playing football, I had to give up my whole life and I had to just live your life and I never gave you a hard time about it,” Cavallari reminded her husband. “It just was what it was. I was at every game and I supported you and I did everything that I was supposed to do as a wife.

“I feel like since I’ve gotten really busy, I don’t have that same support from you,” she explained to her husband. “We gotta get back on the same page. I just don’t feel like we’re on the same page right now. We’re having a really hard time seeing eye to eye.”

“Okay. I can do that,” Cutler assured his wife. “It’ll be fine.”

KRISTIN CAVALLARI REACTS TO JAY CUTLER ASKING HER ABOUT RETIREMENT

Cavallari and Cutler tied the knot in June 2013, 10 months after welcoming son Camden Jack. The pair are also parents to son, Jaxon Wyatt, and daughter, Saylor James.

“Very Cavallari” airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET on E!

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