Zombieland: Double Tap is a shambling, half-revived mess of a sequel

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Photo: Columbia Pictures

Putting aside the monstrous thirst for flesh, a zombie is essentially halfway between a living human and a rotting corpse, animated but staggering around without much grace, a desiccation disguised as a person. Zombieland: Double Tap occupies a similar space in the world of sequels. As a decade-later follow-up to 2009’s irreverent horror-comedy Zombieland, it isn’t an entry in an active franchise. It’s more like an 1980s-style cheapie retread, disguised as a more respectable legacy sequel.

Given the endless (and mostly basic) references to both pop culture and the original Zombieland, it wouldn’t be out of character for Zombieland: Double Tap to lay out this sequel-as-zombie parallel itself. The script (by Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, and…

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Save on fast-charging USB-C wall adapters, Google Pixel 4 preorders, and more

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ravpower

Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

A few fast-charging USB-C wall adapters are more affordable than usual today at Amazon. We’ve featured RavPower’s space-conscious 45W GaN USB-C charger in our deals coverage many times, and today’s price is the cheapest yet. After you clip the coupon on the product page and follow up with the offer code TVPC104RK at checkout, you can get it for just $24.99.

If you need slightly more juice for your laptop, Anker’s 60W GaN USB-C wall adapter is $29.99 after you clip the coupon over at Amazon. This is a fantastic deal as well, though this model sticks out much farther from the outlet compared to RavPower’s charger (shown in the picture above), which is only about a half an inch thick. If space isn’t an issue, you can’t go wrong with either…

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is boldly bonkers

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Photo: Walt Disney Studios

In retrospect, cinephiles didn’t fully appreciate what they had with 2014’s Maleficent, a live-action retelling of a Disney animated classic that actually added something new to a tale as old as time. In addition to the pitch-perfect casting of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, the horned villain from Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast screenwriter Linda Woolverton added a daring feminist spin to the source material. Since Maleficent’s release, Disney’s live-action remakes have gotten progressively less and less original, culminating in 2019’s abysmal shot-for-shot remake of The Lion King. Thankfully, Maleficent is back to inject some much-needed originality into the House of Mouse’s live-action slate in the…

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Pokémon Sword and Shield’s opening is a mix of nostalgia and innovation

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Image: Game Freak / Nintendo

If you’ve never played a Pokémon game before, you’d be forgiven for thinking the opening 30 minutes or so of the series’ latest installments, Sword and Shield, were those of a standard Japanese role-playing game.

There’s a flashy cutscene that introduces the games’ most powerful pokémon trainer, Leon, alongside a gigantic stadium in the new Galar region, where pokémon battling is paramount to the culture and trainers are treated like a cross between pop stars and athletes. And there’s also a new transformation on display early on, called Dynamax, that renders the once-cute pocket monsters as enormous, skyscraper-sized fighters. It’s a sense of scale we’ve never seen in Pokémon games before, and it helps really drive home that the…

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Arlo’s Video Doorbell shows both faces and packages

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Oh look, Arlo’s doorbell now has a camera. | Image: Arlo

Arlo has done the obvious thing and put a camera into its doorbell, something the maker of security cameras somehow failed to do last year. The new Arlo Video Doorbell differentiates itself with a field-of-view that’s both tall and wide (aka, square) in order to show you faces as well as packages dropped in front of the door.

Arlo’s late entry into video doorbells is nevertheless packed with modern features. For example, it starts streaming video to your phone over Wi-Fi just as soon as the doorbell is pressed. You then have the option to send pre-recorded messages like “leave the package by the door” or “I’ll be right there” in addition to starting a two-way audio conversation.

Image: Arlo

Arlo lets you send…

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Google’s Stadia wireless controller won’t be very wireless at launch

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

You’ll probably be plugging in Google’s wireless Stadia controller when the cloud gaming service launches on November 19th. While it’ll work wirelessly while playing Stadia on a Chromecast Ultra, you’ll have to plug in a USB-C cable to use it with computers or phones at launch, Google tells The Verge.

When Google first showed off the controller in March, the company touted how you could seamlessly switch from gaming on your TV to a laptop or phone while using the same exact controller, without having to pair it to each device — because the controller would stay directly connected to Stadia’s servers over its own Wi-Fi.

But as 9to5Google spotted earlier today, Google recently added a disclaimer in a new Stadia explainer video that…

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Gemini Man is a cinematic throwback, but it may be the future of blockbusters, too

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Photo by Ben Rothstein / Paramount Pictures

Around halfway through the new Ang Lee science fiction / action thriller Gemini Man, super-assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith) learns some details about Junior, his equally skilled super-assassin clone (also Smith, in digitally de-aged form). Junior was born around 1995, meaning he preceded Dolly the cloned sheep by a year or so. This is the perfect time period to pinpoint as the birth of Will Smith (or at least a Will Smith) because it corresponds almost exactly with Smith’s ascent into movie stardom: Bad Boys came out in 1995, followed by Independence Day in 1996. This is also the approximate time period that actually birthed Gemini Man, a script that’s been kicking around Hollywood for well over 20 years, at one point as a possible…

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How to check which version of Chrome OS you’re running

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

I recently picked up a Chromebook that hadn’t been used for a while in order to try out a relatively new Chrome OS feature: virtual desktops. But when I hit the key that was supposed to bring those desktops up on my screen, I didn’t see anything. I did some checking around, and I found that the feature was expected to be available as of version 77 of Chrome OS — several iterations after the version I was running.

While Chromebooks pretty much run on their own, and you can usually ignore which version of the operating system your device is running, you may want to have that information available just in case you do need it. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  • Click on the clock in the lower right corner of your screen.
  • Select the…

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Skydio has a motorized charging box to make its self-flying drone truly autonomous

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Skydio makes one of the most incredible drones on the market, and while we haven’t gotten to review the new Skydio 2 yet, the tiny California startup is already setting its ambitions higher than prosumers and videographers. For industrial and commercial entities, it wants to remove humans from the equation entirely, letting them rely on its obstacle-dodging, self-flying technology for automated mapping and surveillance.

To that end, it’s announcing the Skydio 2 Dock, a drone-in-a-box solution that theoretically lets the Skydio 2 fly mission after mission all by itself. As you can see in the video above, it’s got a motorized door and slide-out arm that the drone can land on as well as a built-in charging station for a special version of…

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Google Clips is dead

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Google may have introduced a lot of new Pixel camera tech at its 2019 fall hardware event this week, but it quietly retired a camera product as well: the Google Clips camera has been removed from Google’s online store (via 9to5Google). Google hasn’t responded to The Verge’s request for comment to confirm.

The idea for Clips was an intriguing one: it was a tiny AI-powered wide angle camera designed to automatically capture short videos of precious moments with your loved ones. In theory, by setting up a Clips camera in your house, you wouldn’t have to worry about quick-drawing your phone to record your baby’s first steps.

A GIF of a video from Google Clips.

In practice, though, Clips didn’t seem to work quite as well…

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How the Pixelbook Go compares to other Chromebooks

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After two years without releasing a new laptop, Google has finally announced the Pixelbook Go, a 13.3-inch Chromebook that starts at $649. Based on my colleague Dieter Bohn’s hands-on, it seems pretty good, and it’s a lot cheaper than the $999 Pixelbook.

So now that there’s a midrange Pixelbook, it could be much harder to pick which one of the many Chromebooks should be your next laptop.

If you’re looking for recommendations, Dieter’s got you covered. His top pick as of August 2019 was the Asus Chromebook Flip C434. Obviously, the newly announced Pixelbook Go was not part of his comparison, and we’ll have to wait until The Verge’s full review is out to see just how well the Pixelbook Go stacks up against its competitors….

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Analogue Pocket is a gorgeous, modern handheld for playing your old Game Boy games

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Analogue is known for creating sleek and modern takes on classic video game consoles, and now it’s moving into the world of portables. Today, the company announced the Analogue Pocket, which is essentially the most advanced Game Boy ever made. The gorgeous device has the form factor of the original Game Boy and can play cartridges from the GB, GBC, and GBA — that’s more than 2,700 games — with a display that has 10 times the resolution of Nintendo’s classic device, according to Analogue.

“We’ve wanted to do a tribute to portable gaming since the beginning,” Analogue’s Christopher Taber tells The Verge.

The Pocket features a 3.5-inch, 665ppi, LCD display, with a 1600 x 1440 resolution and built-in backlight. It’s powered by a rechargeable…

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How Apple Arcade mystery Tangle Tower was translated into more than a dozen languages

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When Apple Arcade launched last month, it included a lineup of more than 70 games, with a number of standout hits like Card of Darkness and Sayonara Wild Hearts. For players, it was a great deal: $4.99 a month for interesting new releases from some of the most exciting game developers around. But there’s another notable aspect of Apple Arcade beyond the scale and quality of the games. One of Apple’s requirements is that titles on Arcade must be available in more than 14 languages, which opens up these experiences to often-ignored markets and languages. It might just have been the biggest launch in terms of supported languages in video game history.

The process of localizing for so many languages isn’t necessarily a big deal for games…

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How much will it take for these new giant pokémon to crush me?

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Pokémon Sword and Shield are upping their big boi quota with new Gigantamax forms. Pikachu, Eevee, Charizard, Meowth, and Butterfree have been supersized with special abilities to suit players who don’t want to just humiliate opponents through normal victory, but literally make them feel impossibly small.

Once in Gigantamax form, each pokémon gets a G-Max move, like the ability to damage opponents past a single turn or paralyze opponents. Before you get too excited, know that some will take extra effort outside of Sword or Shield (and possibly $$$) to unlock. Play records from Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! on the Switch will grant you access to whichever lorge mascot version you had. Meowth is an early purchase bonus…

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Motorola’s Moto G8 Plus leaks with triple rear cameras and a 4,000mAh battery

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Image: WinFuture

Images and details about Motorola’s unannounced Moto G8 Plus have leaked online, giving us a hint of what to expect from the budget device. WinFuture reports that the G8 Plus will feature a triple-camera array on its rear, and it will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor powered by a 4,000mAh battery.

The phone’s three rear cameras will reportedly consist of a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel 117-degree wide angle camera, and a third 5-megapixel depth sensor alongside a laser autofocus system. That’s pretty much the same as what we saw on the Motorola One Zoom when it was announced last month, minus that phone’s titular telephoto lens. It’s a decent upgrade over the basic dual camera found on last year’s Moto G7 Plus.

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Fortnite is exciting again

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Image: Epic Games

Fortnite has proved once again that it’s one of the most boundary-pushing video games out there. Following a shocking gamble that saw the game pulled offline for nearly 48 hours, players were reminded that Epic Games’ battle royale hit is in a league of its own when it comes to experimental live events, all in service of the game’s weird and wonderful brand of world-building.

The game “relaunched,” you might say, on Tuesday morning after a meteor struck the island hundreds of millions of players have been exploring and competing on for the last two years. In the meteor’s wake was a black hole that sucked up the map and left players staring at a blank screen for hours. The game’s new map, which had been leaked in bits and pieces over the…

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You’ll need to eat Taco Bell to get Microsoft’s Xbox Elite 2 controller early

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Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft is teaming up with Taco Bell once again to launch a limited edition Xbox One X console. The software giant unveiled a similar console last year with Taco Bell’s signature “ring” when it’s powered on — and this console has the same ring — but this year Microsoft is bundling in the new Xbox Elite 2 controller, too.

Xbox fans will need to purchase Taco Bell’s Double Chalupa Box to try and win this special bundle, dubbed the Xbox One X Eclipse Limited Edition. The promotion starts today, meaning if you’re a lucky winner then you’ll be able to get an Elite 2 controller well before its release on November 4th, and without the $179.99 price tag.

Microsoft’s latest Xbox Elite 2 controller includes…

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Can the Pixel 4 win back Google’s camera crown?

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

After Apple’s iPhone 11 event, I noted that while the company was catching up on features like ultrawide and night mode, it was unclear whether it’d be able to get on the Pixel’s level in terms of basic image quality. Over the course of our review process, it became clear that Apple had indeed achieved that. Apple says it has a class-leading camera every year, but this time it actually does.

The next question, then, is how big a leap will come with Google’s new Pixel 4. We still can’t answer that yet, just as we didn’t know how good the iPhone 11 was the day after its announcement. (You can see some quick comparisons here, but stay tuned for the full review.) We can, however, take a lot from what Google did — and didn’t — have to say on…

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