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Trolls World Tour Review: Rock You Like a Glitter Hurricane



The second installment in DreamWorks Animation’s massive display adaptation of the Troll dolls, Trolls World Tour unexpectedly finds itself being carefully noticed by business analysts desirous to see the way it fares in its straight to VOD launch (the result of theaters closing down over security considerations associated to the COVID-19 outbreak). For some, the concept of a Trolls sequel, which primarily exists becaue the unique IP made some huge cash, being assigned this a lot significance is understandably disconcerting. But, removed from having any delusions of grandeur, the precise film is simply actually frightened about delivering what its advertising has promised. As candy, if packaged, as wrapped sweet, Trolls World Tour serves up sufficient psychedelic visuals and constructive messages to earn its hold.

When the sequel picks up, all is properly with the Pop song-loving Trolls, their brilliant and bubbly Queen Poppy (as soon as once more voiced by Anna Kendrick), and her way more pragmatic pal and wannabe love curiosity, Department (Justin Timberlake). Earlier than lengthy, although, the pair uncover there are 5 different Troll tribes – every of whom are dedicated to a special sort of music a la Funk, Classical, Nation, and Techno – that at the moment are being threatened by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), a Onerous Rock-loving Troll who plots to wipe out all different musical varieties. However as Poppy and Department try and unite the remaining tribes in opposition to Barb, the previous progressively comes to comprehend Trolls actually aren’t all the identical…and that is not a nasty factor.

Associated: Why Trolls World Tour is 2020’s Most Important Movie Release

Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick in Trolls World Tour

In a way, Trolls World Tour is to Zootopia what the primary Trolls was to Inside Out, on the subject of providing a extra simplified tackle themes (on this case, why actual tolerance means celebrating variations, not ignoring them) much like these explored in different, extra layered animated youngsters motion pictures from the previous few years. There’s even a minor subplot about the necessity to deal with the sins of the previous – as was examined as just lately as Frozen II – which is launched simply as abruptly because it’s resolved. The script by the movie’s 5 credited writers (together with, Trolls writing duo Jonathan Aibel and Glen Berger) is a bit too shallow to flesh these concepts out in a significant method, but it surely in any other case does a superbly nice job of offering kid-friendly life classes. At its messiest, Trolls World Tour is responsible of rehashing the sticky trope of getting one among its leads be secretly in love with the opposite, solely to study they see them as (gasp!) a pal – at the least, till they now not do.

Very similar to its predecessor, it is the animation the place Trolls Worlds Tour really shines. Director Walter Dohrn (who co-helmed the primary film) and his crew of artists hold the trippy, candy-colored visuals flowing steadily all through the movie’s brisk runtime, dazzling the attention even when its jokes or plot beats fall a bit flat. At it wildest, the Trolls sequel approaches old-school SpongeBob Squarepants ranges of surreal imagery, significantly throughout a sequence involving Christian Gray himself, Jamie Dornan, as Chaz, a Clean Jazz Troll bounty hunter employed by Barb to cease Poppy. (It is a lengthy story… really, no, it is not.) The jukebox musical sequences and standard tune covers are equally dynamic and effervescent of their staging, even when the sequel lacks an authentic earworm on the identical degree as the primary Trolls‘ Oscar-nominated “Cannot Cease the Feeling”.

Funky Trolls from Trolls World Tour

Much more than the unique movie, Trolls World Tour is overflowing with characters, with Bloom’s Queen Barb being (simply) probably the most memorable of the brand new additions. As she demonstrated along with her nice voice work in The Indignant Birds Motion pictures 2 final yr, the Loopy Ex-Girlfriend mastermind’s spirited vocals are a wonderful match for the medium of animation, and Barb herself is afforded a welcome quantity of depth (making her a robust foil to Poppy). The returning voice solid stays equally well-matched to their respective roles, and their ranks are properly stuffed out by contemporary supporting gamers like Sam Rockwell’s folksy Troll Hickory. For probably the most half, although, the totally different Troll lands are extra attention-grabbing than their playfully one-note inhabitants. (Apropos of nothing: these motion pictures additionally proceed to lift massive questions on how on earth Trolls’ bodily capabilities really work.)

All hypothesis about how the movie’s success or lack thereof may impression distribution fashions post-coronavirus apart, Trolls Worlds Tour manages to enhance upon its predecessor with out essentially evolving the Trolls film model alongside the best way. It performs issues secure by tackling massive subjects with much less depth than different animated tentpoles have of late, however goes even wilder with its animation and world-building, leading to a sequel that is extra entertaining and just a bit deeper than the primary film. Those that skipped seeing that one – and/or whose eyes glaze over each time a Trolls World Tour industrial pops up – can in all probability really feel snug taking a move on this one, too. However for anybody who may use some extra-bright and colourful silliness of their lives, this shot of glitter to the face would possibly do the trick.

NEXT: Watch the Trolls World Tour Trailer

Trolls World Tour is now accessible to observe On Demand. It’s 91 minutes lengthy and is rated PG for some gentle rumor humor.

Our Score:

three out of 5 (Good)

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Doom Patrol Season 4 Release Date, Cast And Plot



No information regarding the plot of Season 4 of “Doom Patrol” has officially been confirmed, although again, due to the nature of Season 3’s ending, it’s highly likely that the team will take on larger missions due to their shared acceptance of their role as a super-team of sorts. It’s possible that we could see some recurring characters like Dorothy (Abi Monterey) and the Dead Boy Detectives make more appearances as well.

There are plenty of issues left unaddressed in Season 3 for Season 4 to tackle as well, including Robotman’s new body, Rita’s possibility of becoming a villain now that she has embraced her darker side, and Laura De Mille’s struggles in truly being a hero. Either way, the plot of Season 4 is likely to see the entire “Doom Patrol” squad deal with their newfound responsibility as a super-team, including finding the best ways to make it work as a cohesive unit. Expect to hear more about the details of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 next year.

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Beamlines cast precious light on SARS-CoV-2, emerging variants and vaccines that will stop them



Newswise — Ultrabright light from the Advanced Photon Source continues to illuminate mysteries around coronaviruses and shape the vaccines and therapeutics protecting us against variants of concern.

It’s been nearly two years since the first outbreaks of COVID-19. In that time, facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, have proved integral to the fight against the disease.

Building on more than a decade of research into similar viruses, scientists using the ultrabright X-rays of the APS have been instrumental in the development of vaccines and treatments against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Now research has pivoted to the variants of the virus, and determining whether the approved vaccines will be effective against them.

“Time is of the essence in combating this virus. We are enormously appreciative of APS remaining open throughout the pandemic for COVID-related experiments.”  — Ian Wilson, Scripps Research.

Nearly all viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, attempt to mutate in wily efforts to “escape” eradication. Some of these variants disappear as quickly as they emerge. Others linger and are classified as variants of concern (VOCs).

VOCs become highly problematic when established human means of eradicating them fail to have the desired effect. A vaccinated person’s immune system knows to produce virus-fighting antibodies when it sees certain molecular characteristics. However, the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s spike protein molecule — which the APS helped researchers identify as the target site of current vaccines — has been able to mutate ever so slightly and still attach itself to human cells more readily or tightly. Depending on the degree of mutation, antibodies can then fail to recognize the mutated viruses.

Such variants and mutations of SARS-CoV-2 were always expected, and APS beamlines were used from an early date to study them.

Ian Wilson, a scientist at the Scripps Research Institute, leads a laboratory whose APS-informed work has advanced understanding of dominant and emerging variants of the virus. The Wilson lab, spearheaded by postdoctoral fellows Meng Yuan and Nicholas Wu (now an assistant professor at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), first looked at SARS-CoV-2 at the APS in February 2020, shortly after its genome was released.

They specifically narrowed their lens on the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein. The RBD is a part of the virus that latches onto and invades cells to increase infection. This focus helped the Wilson lab determine crystal structures of many human antibodies combined with the RBD and see exactly how antibodies target and neutralize the virus.

Ten months later, when it was reported that SARS-CoV-2 was infecting farmed mink in Denmark and that the mutated viruses were transmissible to humans, the Wilson lab built on this initial research to study the emerging variants. They initially identified vulnerable sites on the virus surface that could be targeted by neutralizing antibodies. They also identified the more conserved sites — regions on the viral surface that are often less mutated — which, when targeted by antibodies, are effective at neutralizing the virus’s emerging variants.

Conserved sites of the viral surface, it turns out, are critical to study because while the virus may relentlessly change, certain regions of its spike protein cannot accommodate mutations, as they would lose essential viral function and fitness. By changing too much, the virus wouldn’t be itself anymore. Antibodies target these sites and more changeable sites with different degrees of success.

“Only a small portion of antibodies isolated from COVID-19 patients can cross-react with related SARS-like viruses,” explained Yuan of results published in Cell Host & Microbe. “Some can neutralize these different viruses and are termed cross-neutralizing. Our study was able to reveal conserved regions on these different viruses that can be targeted by cross-neutralizing antibodies.”

In another study of the virus’s escape mechanism published in Science, the Wilson lab tested a panel of 17 neutralizing antibodies isolated from COVID-19 patients, or from mice designed to carry human cells or human genetic and physiological properties. In these tests, two mutations of the virus in the RBD were particularly able to evade a number of neutralizing antibodies. However, when more conserved sites were tested, the variants fared less well; the antibodies were still able to target the variants.

Analysis of the antibodies that bind to these conserved regions using beamline data helps researchers identify ways to resist variants more effectively and guide next-generation vaccine and treatment design.

Jonathan Abraham, an assistant professor of microbiology at Harvard University, is another researcher who used the APS to examine antibody response to SARS-CoV-2. He was buried in a different project using data collected at the APS when he attended a clinical presentation about a local patient infected with SARS-CoV-2.

“[The patient] had a five-month-long infection and was receiving therapy to treat an autoimmune condition,” explained Abraham. “One of our colleagues sequenced the virus, and I remember seeing the SARS-CoV-2 RBD sequences and having an “aha!” moment.”

As detailed in Cell, Abraham studied viral sequences collected from the patient at various times during infection — from up to 152 days after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. He found that the immunocompromised patient’s virus over time evolved to acquire RBD mutations that could fool antibodies into no longer recognizing it.

When X-ray crystal structures of the antibodies were examined at the APS, it became clear that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can build a mature resistance to antibodies — and scientists can see exactly where it did so at a molecular level.

“We were compelled to move forward with experiments to better understand the significance of these mutations to receptor and neutralizing antibody binding,” said Abraham. “Many of the RBD mutations we were studying because they arose in this individual later emerged as part of variants of concern.”

Wilson and Abraham give credit to those at Argonne who worked hard to make APS beamlines available for SARS-CoV-2 research. Their dedication, professionalism and fast response times were critical.

“APS staff on numerous occasions have gone above and beyond to help us secure beam time to study SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and spike protein fragments,” said Abraham. “The Argonne technicians and scientists who work on the beamlines have simply been outstanding, and they often provided training and instruction to graduate students who were leading the SARS-CoV-2 research projects in our lab.”

“Time is of the essence in combating this virus,” said Wilson. “We are enormously appreciative of APS remaining open throughout the pandemic for COVID-related experiments.”

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Donald Trump’s Social Media Venture Seeks $1 Billion Raise: Report



Donald Trump's Social Media Venture Seeks $1 Billion Raise: Report

Trump Media and Digital World have asked investors to finalize commitments.

Former President Donald Trump’s new social media venture is seeking to raise up to $1 billion by selling shares to hedge funds and family offices at several times the valuation it commanded in a deal with a blank-check acquisition firm in October, two people familiar with the matter said.

Trump Media & Technology Group, which has yet to roll out the social media app it says it is developing, already stands to receive $293 million if its deal to list in New York through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition Corp is completed.

The deal valued Trump Media at $875 million, including debt. Trump Media is now seeking to raise up to an additional $1 billion at a valuation of close to $3 billion, to reflect Digital World’s share rally after Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock, the sources said.

It is the clearest indication yet that Trump and the Digital World dealmakers are seeking to capitalize on the market euphoria around their venture, which has so far been fueled by its ambitious goals rather than a business that is up and running.

Digital World shares were valued at $10 each in the deal with Trump Media. Trump Media is now looking to secure a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE) that would value Digital World shares closer to their recent price, the sources said.

The sources added that Digital World shares may be valued based on a 20% discount of their 10-day, volume-weighted average price.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Trump Media and Digital World did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News reported last month that the companies were seeking to raise a PIPE without any details on its terms.

Digital World shares soared on Wednesday, as investors welcomed the news that the PIPE could dilute existing Digital World shareholders less than they expected by pricing at a level much higher than the customary $10 per share seen in most mergers with blank-check firms.

The shares, which had been trading down 6% before news of the $1 billion raise, rallied to close up 7% at $44.35 on Nasdaq, then extended gains in after-hours trade, rocketing up 31%, to $58.01.

Most PIPE transactions are inked before a deal to take a company public is rolled out, and it is far from certain that the companies will raise the entire $1 billion they are seeking following their deal announcement. Many Wall Street firms have snubbed the opportunity to invest, and many of the investors participating in the confidential road shows for the PIPE are hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, the sources said. Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.

Weighing on the deal’s appeal is the reluctance of many investors to associate with Trump after he was banned from top social media platforms for encouraging his supporters to participate in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.

Some hedge funds that backed the launch of Digital World, including Saba Capital Management and Lighthouse Investment Partners, have said they sold their shares to distance themselves from the Trump deal.

The deal also faces regulatory risk. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.

Trump Media and Digital World have asked investors to finalize commitments to the PIPE by the middle of December, the sources said.

In a PIPE road show attended by one of the sources, investors were asked to commit between $10 million and $20 million. Neither Trump nor Digital World executives made an appearance, and the investor presentation was led by David Boral, the president of EF Hutton, an investment bank that advised Digital World on the deal, the source said. A Trump Media representative was also in attendance, the source added.

But Trump has been personally involved. He has been calling some investors to ask them to make a commitment to the PIPE of more than $100 million, the second of the sources said.

Investors attending the road show were shown a demo from the planned social media app, called TRUTH Social, which looked like a Twitter feed, the sources said.

Big Plans

Trump has said he is launching his own social media app to stand up against the companies that have barred him from their platforms. He had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.

Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency for a third time in 2024.

Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along. Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.

TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, and is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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