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‘The Devil All the Time’ strands its super-star cast in a grim Netflix thriller

‘The Devil All the Time’ strands its super-star cast in a grim Netflix thriller

The casting alone should spur interest in “The Devil All the Time” — Batman (Robert Pattinson) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), together at last — but can’t make the movie feel like less of a slog. Adapting Dale Ray Pollock’s grim novel, awful characters proceed along parallel tracks, en route to a whole lot of violence and unpleasantness.

Pollock actually serves as the movie’s (frequently used) narrator, and he’s a folksy natural, adding literary authenticity to director Antonio Campos’ film. Yet other than attracting an inordinately good lineup of players — many in relatively minor roles — the dutiful nature of the adaptation drains much of the life out of the movie.

Simply put, “The Devil All the Time” has the texture of a Coen brothers film, with a dash of “L.A. Confidential” in terms of the music and period. But despite its vivid rendition of the era and a small town with secrets like Knockemstiff, Ohio, it lacks the wit of those movies, and shifts around so much it’s easy to become restless waiting for the lines to intersect.

Indeed, those drawn by the aforementioned super-stars should be forewarned neither appears till more of a third of the way through the movie, which begins in 1957, flashes back to a soldier returning home from World War II and, before it’s over, jumps ahead to the days of escalation in Vietnam, encompassing a roughly 20-year span.

Covering that kind of ground presents a daunting task, one that might have fared better stretched into a limited series. As is, the film essentially lurches from one character to the next, in a way that feels unavoidably episodic, and leaves some talented players — Haley Bennett and Mia Wasikowska among them — with little to do.

The early portion tilts toward the aforementioned soldier (Bill Skarsgard), whose grown-up son Arvin (Holland) winds up being raised along with a young girl (Eliza Scanlen) who has survived a separate tragedy.

Elsewhere, there’s a serial-killer couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), who pick up hitchhikers and murder them; a corrupt sheriff (Sebastian Stan, another refugee from the Marvel universe), trying to get reelected; and a lascivious preacher (Pattinson), who shows up almost an hour into the movie, spouting sermons that merely illustrate his hypocrisy.

Arvin’s dad didn’t teach him much, but he did espouse justice in the form of vengeance. The character certainly offers a different side of Holland, who is among the few afforded any significant screen time to exhibit much in the way of compassion or humanity.

Of course, just assembling this cast represents a promotional coup for Netflix, likely to land the movie on its most-popular list, amid a push that involves scheduling high-profile features each week at a time when the theatrical business remains hobbled.

Feeling compelled (or at least motivated) to watch, however, isn’t the same thing as liking it. And with “The Devil All the Time,” the missteps reside in more than just the details.

“The Devil Next Time” premieres Sept. 16 on Netflix.

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Elton John is getting his own Barbie doll

Elton John is getting his own Barbie doll

Elton John is getting his very own Barbie doll. And while the doll won’t look like the Rocket Man, it will be styled in his likeness.

The limited-edition Barbie doll, which was released on Mattel’s website on Thursday, will have a glittery top and flared denim complete with the singer’s initials.

Her multi-colored “Elton” bomber jacket has stars on its sleeves and rainbow stripes on its hem. She will also have rainbow-patterned platform boots, a purple bowler hat and Elton’s signature sparkly pink sunglasses.

“The Elton John Barbie doll is a bold collaboration that personifies two cultural icons and honors the extraordinary artistry and musicianship of a stellar performer,” the doll’s description on the Mattel website reads.

So, what’s the occasion?

The doll, which retails for $50, was released to mark the 45th anniversary of the singer’s record-breaking two-day performance at the Dodgers Stadium in October 1975.

At the time, the 100,000 attendees made it the largest concert ever for a single artist.

“Barbie is an icon in her own right, so having her pay tribute to my work and personal style is a real honor,” Elton John told Rolling Stone. “I hope that she inspires fans everywhere to fearlessly pursue their own dreams and limitless potential.”

The Elton John Barbie doll can be bought on the Mattel website or on Walmart’s online store.

‘Legally Blonde 3’ pushed to 2022

‘Legally Blonde 3’ pushed to 2022

Elle Woods fans are going to have to wait a bit longer for another “Legally Blonde” movie. MGM announced on its Twitter account this week that the film is coming — just later than fans expected. “Elle Woods is back! Legally Blonde 3 coming May 2022. We rest our case.” Reese Witherspoon played Woods in…Continue Reading

Scott Baio is not happy with ‘Happy Days’ Democratic fundraiser

Scott Baio is not happy with ‘Happy Days’ Democratic fundraiser

It’s a definite “no” for Scott Baio joining his former fellow “Happy Days” cast members for Sunday’s planned virtual fundraiser. Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Don Most, Anson Williams and Marion Ross are reportedly set to reunite to raise money for the Wisconsin Democratic Party. The popular “Happy Days” series, which ran from 1974 to 1984,…Continue Reading

Adele gets us ready for her ‘SNL’ performance

Adele gets us ready for her ‘SNL’ performance

We are so ready Adele. The singer is set to host “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, and she stirred anticipation late Wednesday with a photo she posted on social media. The picture on her verified Instagram account shows Adele wearing a mask and appearing to be going over a script. “3 days to go,” the…Continue Reading

Jamie Lynn Spears drops new ‘Zoey 101’ theme song

Jamie Lynn Spears drops new ‘Zoey 101’ theme song

Jamie Lynn Spears is working on that “Zoey 101” reboot, ya’ll. The former Nickelodeon star told CNN in a recent interview that she gets asked by fans of the show all the time when there will be some sort of reunion. She says that’s why she decided to re-record the theme song from the show…Continue Reading

‘Borat’ sequel somehow still manages to serve up audacious surprises

‘Borat’ sequel somehow still manages to serve up audacious surprises

Like any sequel, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” faces the challenge of what to do for an encore, 14 years and a big box-office haul later. Somehow, though, Sacha Baron Cohen hasn’t lost the power to deliver audacious surprises, with enough explosive, not-suitable-for-anywhere laughs to power through the flatter patches this sort of exercise inevitably yields. Success…Continue Reading

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