REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney

Written by Fernando Andrade

You know that feeling when you walk out of a movie knowing you have witnessed something special, something you have never seen before. That’s the feeling you get walking out of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. Even though it’s based off a comic book and this character has been done six times before and we know the basic story of Spider-Man, the people behind this movie found a way to make it fresh and have produced not only the best animated movie this year, but hands down one of the best movies of 2018.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse centers around Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), aka Spider-Man. In Miles’ dimension Peter Parker (Chris Pine) is a hero to the people of New York, stopping crime at every corner and doing it with grace. That is until Parker has a run in with Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) and his gang of other notable Spider-Man villains including Green Goblin and The Prowler. They have built a device which causes dimensions to collide in an attempt to bring back Fisk’s wife and son who where killed. In the exchange, Peter Parker is killed, yes killed in an animated PG movie, leaving Miles the one and only Spider-Man – so he thinks. Of course as the promotional material has shown us, several dimensions collide bringing with them other Spider-people with them. We have Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Gleen), and Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) – but from a different dimension. It is up to the 6 of them to come together and defeat Fisk in order to return to their respective worlds.

This movie probably could not have come out at a better time, due to the tragic death of Stan Lee, as it shows the true power of comic books and why people love this character. While yes, on the surface this movie is a standard comic book movie pitting good against evil, heroes against villains, it is so much more than that. This character of Miles Morales is so pure and so easy to connect with. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he loves his family, he wants to make them proud, and he is just kind at heart. Honestly it was a nice change of pace seeing this familial interaction and not one having to do with Aunt May and Uncle Ben. This interpretation of Spider-Man also comes with a bit of a different message, although the presence of “with great power comes great responsibility” is still felt, here we get to see someone figure out that they have the ability to become something great and that you are never alone.

This is beautifully done through the brilliant use of all the other characters. Yes, some are used for more comedic purposes and some of the villains just show up, but they are not the main focus. However, all the characters fit, they all have their moments, and it works seamlessly to help tell Miles’ story. Each of the different Spider-people/animal have their own problem, their own origin story, and so do we as individuals – we all have different paths, which is why it is so easy to relate to this story. Sometimes it can feel very lonely out there, as Miles feels as his relationship with his family begins to dwindle as the piling amount of pressure he has to be a worthy Spider-Man builds. But it is through those same worries in which he finds the power to become who he was meant to be. This story has attempted to be shown in other Spider-Man movies as well, some being more successful than others, but the way it was told in this movie has been the most effective. We get to see a young, half black half Latino kid, dropped to this position where he must learn to face this massive challenge, with some pretty great people to help him along the way.

Not only is Into the Spider-Verse a beautiful story, the technical aspects on display here are some of the greatest ever in animation. This is probably what people felt like watching Toy Story for the first time seeing all those 3D animations, but in animation today all we really see is polished, hyper realistic worlds. It is a wonderful change of pace to see such a unique approach to animation, and it works so well with this story. This could never be reproduced into life action ever, it could only have been done this way.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has come along and made itself known as one of the best movies of 2018, and should be leading the charge at the Oscars for best animated feature. Its a universal story that can be loved by everyone, filled with beautifully touching moments for both comic book and non-comic book fans alike, great laughs, and some pretty great music. This movie really showcases what minds like Steve Ditko and Stan Lee saw in these characters and what they wanted to express; a mask is a mask, but what really matters is who is underneath it – and that could be anyone.

 

Fernando’s Verdict:

4-5

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‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ To Swing In With $50m, While ‘Mortal Engines’ Can’t Get Started: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

After two barren weekends without a major cinematic release, the theatrical cobwebs and tumbleweed will be brushed aside as three new films bring an end to the post-Thanksgiving void, and usher in the Christmas period.

Finally.

Kicking off the weekend is ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, Sony’s latest foray into the world of Marvel’s most beloved hero after releasing the spinoff ‘Venom’ back in October. The film sees teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) taking up the ‘Spider-Man’ mantle, after teaming up with multiple parallel-universe Spider-Men to defeat crime lord Wilson Fisk.

Its all-star cast, featuring the voices of Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, and Lily Tomlin among many others, is only bolstered by an equally strong team behind the scenes, with Lord & Miller producing, and the latter getting a co-writing credit.

The quality in production has apparently shone through to the final product; its near-perfect 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, A+ on Cinemascore, and 87 on Metacritic means it’s one of the best-reviewed superhero films in modern memory, perfect fuel for a great Box Office lift-off.

We’re optimistically forecasting a gross just below $50m from Friday to Sunday, considering the recent slew of family-friendly animations (and superhero movies) that have already quenched the thirsts of the general audience. It’s an opening that falls just behind another Lord & Miller production ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ from 2017, which made $53m in its first 3 days, on its way to earning $175.8m domestically.

Next is Clint Eastwood’s second film of the year after February’s ’15:17 to Paris’ – ‘The Mule’. Eastwood directs and stars as Earl Stone, an elderly drug trafficker (based on the true story of World War 2 veteran Leo Sharp). The film also sees Bradley Cooper as DEA Agent Colin Bates, alongside Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Taissa Farmiga, and Andy García.

This R-rated crime flick has the better of ’15:17’ when it comes to critical reception, but this makes little difference for the $50m production, which looks to open at around $14m$1.5m more than ’15:17’. ‘The Mule’, it seems, will need to keep delivering the goods in coming weeks, or else get caught by the chasing pack.

What’s a Box Office weekend without a big budget flop? First-time director Christian Rivers teams up with Peter Jackson (‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’) to deliver ‘Mortal Engines’, Universal’s steampunk dystopian based off of Phillip Reeve’s 2001 novel of the same name.

Fears of a ‘Robin Hood’-like failure are warranted, given its bloated $100m+ budget and poor response from both critics and audiences (28% on RT, B- on Cinemascore). Therefore, we’re predicting a start of $10.6m, meaning ‘Mortal Engines’ has already stalled upon release.

Finally, Oscar-hopeful ‘The Favorite’, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, looks to beat out ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ and ‘Green Book’ for a place in the top ten. Still in a limited release, playing in just 423 cinemas, the historical period-piece, starring Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, should earn $3.4m for 10th place.

The Box Office is back in full swing this weekend, with ‘Spider-Man’ leading the way. Will it hit the lofty $50m heights we predict, or will it just fall short? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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MediCinema Holding Special Preview Screenings Of ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’

The good folk of MediCinema are holding special preview screenings of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse across the UK on December 6th.

All proceeds will go straight to MediCinema and the wonderful work they do offering film screenings in specially designed cinemas that are built to accommodate wheelchairs and hospital beds whilst maintaining a real and immersive cinema experience away from the wards for hospital patients and their families.

You can book your tickets right here

“Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creative minds behind ‘The Lego Movie’ and ’21 Jump Street,’ bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Anything Is Possible In The New ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Trailer

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree, Henry Luna, Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn

Release Date: December 12th, 2018

JUMPSCARECUT: Mandy (2018)

Year: 2018
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough

Written by Abbie Eales

Set deep in the backwoods of  the northwest of USA in 1983, Panos Cosmatos phantasmagorical horror sees Nicolas Cage’s stoic lumberjack, Red Miller, seeking vengeance against a variety of ghoulish figures following the murder of the love of his life, Mandy (Andrea Riseborough).

The couple live in a house which could be from a fairytale, hidden in the woods, all glass walls, wood and peculiar angles. Mandy herself is the fairytale princess but one with a difference. Fragile and seemingly damaged, she appears almost otherworldly, thanks to both some excellent make-up and styling together with a beautifully subtle performance by Riseborough. She loves to read horror fiction and paints women and fantastical beasts, while clad in her Black Sabbath t-shirt and with her long dark hair, she could be the archetypal horror fan.

Although there is very little dialogue in the film, Cosmatos and co-writer Aaron Stewart-Ahn manage to pack a punch where it does punctuate the visuals, from the heart-breaking speech by Mandy about a childhood encounter with starlings to some of Cage’s later sassy one-liners. They manage to paint an idyllic picture of Mandy and Red’s life together, a picture which is soon shattered when a sinister cult calling themselves The Children of the New Dawn roll into town.

Red Miller feels like the character Nicolas Cage was born to play, allowing him to showcase his tender, restrained side but also unleash some unrelenting CAGENESS. He is both lover and warrior, starting out cosied up in pyjamas and ending with… well… it’s quite the journey. In one scene Cage finds himself in a chainsaw battle against one of his tormentors, something which feels gleefully inevitable after the opening scenes of him swinging a chainsaw in the woods.

A swirling sea of reds, purples and dark blues, Mandy is part art-house music video and part homage to horror of the 1970s. The cinematography is also  part high-art and part cover-of-a-cheesy-horror-novel brought to life. The visuals are so trippy and hallucinatory you are left feeling truly off-kilter, mixing a whole slew of styles together but staying surprisingly coherent. There is even an odd interlude by Chris ‘Casper’ Kelly, creator of Adult Swim cult film Too Many Cooks which pops up when you least expect it.

The score by Oscar winning composer Jóhann Jóhannsson,  who sadly passed away in February of this year, is a thing of absolute beauty, moving from delicate, shimmering guitars to an all out aural assault with bass tones heavy enough to shake loose the bowels of hell. It’s a classic in waiting.

Mandy is the batshit, Cage-filled, hallucinatory metal horror trip you didn’t know you needed.

Abbie’s Verdict:

4

The Headliners & Hidden Gems At The 62nd BFI London Film Festival

Yesterday saw the announcement of the full line-up of films for the 62nd BFI London Film Festival (LFF), and boy is there a ton to get your teeth stuck into! But this year we have even more reason to be excited as JUMPCUT will attending and covering the festival for the first time ever!

We’ll be covering a whole range of films screening at the festival, including some of the headliners and hidden gems! JUMPCUT’s LFF Queen Sarah has kindly picked out just some of the films she thinks you are going to want to keep your eye on!

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The Headliners

Widows
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya

Why it is worth a watch: I mean that cast list alone is worth the admission price, but this female-fronted action thriller is also helmed by the man who brought us 12 Years a Slave, a film which previously enjoyed awards success. But the talent doesn’t end there, Widows is penned by Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn and Hans Zimmer provides the score. This is an action movie of the highest calibre and one that will be well worth your time and money.

Screening at LFF: 10th, 11th, 12th October
UK Wider Release Date: 6th November 2018

Stan & Ollie
Directed by: Jon S Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly, Nina Arianda, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston

Why it is worth a watch: An ode to cinema, entertainment, and with two leading actors known for their brilliance as physical comedians, Stan & Ollie seems like the perfect film to close out London Film Festival. Coogan and Reilly bring beloved comedians Stan Laurel and Ollie Hardy to life on the big screen, focusing on the twilight years of their career. This is set to be a real crowd-pleaser and the most fitting curtain call for the festival.

Screening at LFF: 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 11th January 2019

The Favourite
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Why it is worth a watch: A divisive filmmaker, but certainly one that gets people talking, Yorgos Lanthimos brings his third English-language film in four years to the London Film Festival. With stand-out performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, The Favourite promises to be bizarre, bonkers, and brilliant!

Screening at LFF: 18th, 19th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st January 2019

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck

Why it is worth a watch: It’s the Coen Brothers! In all seriousness, the latest from the incomparable Coens promises to be wild (west) entertainment, hilarious, offbeat, and surprisingly melancholic. Dark humour and the trademark Coen brothers flair will be here in abundance

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Screening at LFF: 12th, 13th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

Beautiful Boy
Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen
Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan

Why it is worth a watch: Just try and get through the trailer to this one without crying. Sometimes you just need to let it all out, and this will be the film that gets audiences at LFF reaching for the tissues. Starring man-of-the-moment Timothee Chalamet, hot off the heels of last year’s Call Me By Your Name, and Steve Carell in what is set to be another great dramatic role for him, Beautiful Boy will be the one to watch for those early Best Actor hints…

Screening at LFF: 13th, 14th, 16th October
UK Wider Release Date: 18th January 2019

Suspiria
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz

Why it is worth a watch: Full disclaimer, I am a massive horror wuss and will therefore not be seeing this on the big screen, but it would be very remiss of me not to mention it here. There is no denying the trailer is stunning, and the hype levels amongst the JumpCut team have reached fever-pitch for this one. It won’t be for everyone but it’ll certainly be a talking point. And also it has Tilda Swinton in it; you can’t go wrong!

Screening at LFF: 16th, 17th, 19th October
UK Wider Release Date: 16th November 2019

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The Hidden Gems

Wild Rose
Directed by: Tom Harper
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Sophie Okonedo, Julie Walters

Why it is worth a watch: After impressing in Beast, Jessie Buckley stars in what is set to another impressive film. A Glaswegian single mum dreams of being a country singer, how hard could it be?! This is the sort of film that will make your heart soar, and with Julie Walters also appearing, it is hard not to draw comparisons with the underdog story of Billy Elliot. This film is already set to be one of the truly underrated gems of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 15th, 16th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 8th February 2019

The Hate U Give
Directed by: George Tillman Jr
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common

Why it is worth a watch: Adapted from Angie Thomas’ ‘Black Lives Matter’-inspired Young Adult novel, this film certainly feels like an important one, and one which is sadly still so relevant. Focusing on the young lives affected by the tragic shootings of their peers, the BFI are also offering £5 tickets to see this one for 16 to 25 year olds. Even outside of this age range, this film has a lot to offer, promising to be a powerful and timely watch.

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 26th October 2018

Assassination Nation
Directed by: Sam Levinson
Starring: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne

Why it is worth a watch: Don’t let the early trigger warnings put you off, this is a film that bears everything upfront and then unleashes all hell. Assassination Nation is the Salem witch trials meets the digital generation in this thoroughly modern cautionary tale, and one which is poised to join other teen cult classics such as Heathers and Spring Breakers. Subversive and utterly unique, this could be one of the surprise hits of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 23rd November 2018

Burning
Directed by: Lee Chang-dong
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo, Steven Yeun

Why it is worth a watch: This film wowed audiences at Cannes, which is often the mark of a successful festival film! This lean slow-burning thriller promises to have you gripped right from the start, as well as exploring complex themes such as obsession, class-conflict and suppressed male rage. It will be unlikely to have a wide cinema release, so catch this one at the festival whilst you can!

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st February 2019

Mandy
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache

Why it is worth a watch: Yes, Nicolas Cage. Stop reading now! Just kidding, this synopsis alone is enough to make you want to see it so we’re not even going to add to it: “In a mountain-cabin idyll, lumberjack Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) lives in perfect harmony with his great love Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). But the couple’s blissful utopia is cruelly shattered when a ragtag band of Satanic cultists invade their humble abode and claim Mandy for their own. Traumatised and distraught, Red is left with no option but to exact a bloody revenge.” (Michael Blyth, BFI)

Screening at LFF: 11, 12, 17th
UK Wider Release Date: 12th October 2018

Blaze
Directed by: Ethan Hawke
Starring: Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Sam Rockwell

Why it is worth a watch: Ethan Hawke is having quite the year, and fresh from his acclaimed performance in First Reformed, his latest directorial offering his heading to LFF. This biopic about a little known musician is shot with affection and true passion that is hard to replicate, and quite frankly anything Ethan Hawke is passionate about, we love already!

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies

Year: 2018
Directed by: Aaron Horvath & Peter Rida Michail
Cast: Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Michael Bolton, Nicolas Cage, Greg Davies, Halsey, Jimmy Kimmel, Stan Lee, Lil Yachty

Written by Tom Sheffield

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this review. Even the hilariously bizarre marketing didn’t prepare me for the weirdest 88 minutes I’ll ever spend on a Sunday morning. I knew we were in for something different when the lights went down in the cinema screen and an animated version of DC’s new intro began to play.

The premise of this little animated caper is that Robin is growing increasingly jealous of all the superheroes getting their own movies in Hollywood, and when he learns that Alfred and the Bat-mobile will be getting one before him he decides it’s time for the Teen Titans to prove themselves worthy by seeking out an arch-nemesis, something all great superheroes have. Robin and the Titans then come face to face with D̶e̶a̶d̶p̶o̶o̶l̶ Slade (aka Deathstroke, although he’s never called that in the film for some reason) and they decide they want him to be their nemesis, but Slade deems them unworthy to waste his time on. The Titans try to help Robin prove he’s worthy with a few catchy musical numbers, a dash of time travel, and a ton of comic book and film easter eggs along the way!

The film boasts an incredibly talented voice cast, with Tara Strong (Raven), Scott Menville (Robin), Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Hynden Walch (Starfire), and Khary Payton (Cyborg) all reprising their respective roles from the Teen Titans TV series. Also along for this ride is Will Arnett, Nicolas Cage (and his son Kal-El), Kristen Bell, Greg Davies, Michael Bolton, and Jimmy Kimmel to name just a few. However, not even Nicolas Cage finally getting to play Superman could top the hilarious cameo from the king of cameos himself, Stan Lee!

The film is full to the brim with pop culture references, comic book nods, and digs at previous DC films. Not even Disney is safe in this film as there’s one particular sequence animated in Disney fashion and puts a twist on the Lion King’s opening sequence. I was constantly scanning the background of each shot for subtle jokes, such as the name of buildings, film posters in the theatre, and characters popping up in the background. I’m pretty sure I missed about 50% of them, so a second viewing is on the cards at some point. These nods and digs were easily the highlight of this film for me, mostly because the majority of the actual dialogue felt like it was targeted to the younger members of the audience (and rightly so I guess!). There’s a joke about pooping that goes on waaaay longer than it needed to, and there are also a few jokes that didn’t manage to get a laugh from any of the audience (the majority of which were young children with their parents).

Poop jokes aside, the musical numbers in this definitely caught me off guard at first, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t toe-tappingly catchy. How could anyone not crack a smile at Michael Bolton singing as an 80’s clad Tiger? In fact, let’s put that to the test. Below is the official clip from the film of the song ‘Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life’. Just let the soothing tones of Michael Bolton’s voice bring you some joy today.

That’s just a taster of the kind of musical numbers this film holds, of which there is a handful. The music is catchy, upbeat, and is accompanied by great scenes in the film. Listening to the soundtrack as I write this, I can’t help but laugh remembering some of the ridiculous stuff that goes on during some of the songs.

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies has the perfect runtime and it doesn’t overstay its welcome (despite Robin’s objections). With only a couple of stinkers, the humor is mostly on point and you can’t help but enjoy yourself whilst watching the film. If you have younger siblings or family members, definitely invite them along for a watch at your local cinema.

Tom’s Rating:

4

Chainsaw-Wielding Nicolas Cage Goes On A Rampage In The First Trailer For ‘Mandy’

“‘Mandy’ is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.”

Directed by: Panos Cosmatos

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache

Release Date: September 14th, 2018

Move Over Justice League, The Teen Titans Are Ready For Their Shot In New Trailer For ‘Teen Titans GO! To The Movies’

“When the Teen Titans go to the big screen, they go big! “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” finds our egocentric, wildly satirical Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza—a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the super hero genre, complete with musical numbers. It seems to the Teens that all the major super heroes out there are starring in their own movies—everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line!”

Directed by: Aaron Horvath & Peter Rida Michail

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Tara Strong, James Corden, Wall Arnett, Khary Payton, Halsey, Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Lil Yachty

Release Date: August 3rd, 2018