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Captain Marvel’s Pre-Sales Are Among Marvel’s Best

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a serious roll during Phase Three, as every new release has been a critical and box office success. There are still two more blockbusters left in this phase, so the pressure on for the studio to deliver a clean sweep. While Avengers: Endgame will no doubt be a juggernaut at theaters given the high stakes and events of Infinity War, it was unclear just how much of a presence Captain Marvel would have, given the brand new protagonist.

But it looks like Captain Marvel will be another serious moneymaker for Marvel Studios, as its tracking for a strong performance when it arrives in a matter of weeks. Box office predictions have the opening weekend above $100 million, and now Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s MCU debut is already among the universe’s highest pre-sales on Fandango.

At the time of writing Captain Marvel is the Marvel’s third biggest pre-seller on Fandango, behind Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther. Considering both of those movies featured characters that moviegoers knew and love, this is particularly significant. Carol Danvers hasn’t been seen on the silver screen yet, but that’s not stopping Captain Marvel from selling tons of tickets in advance, as fans will clamor to theaters to see the penultimate installment of Phase Three.

Indeed, Captain Marvel‘s pre-sales are outperforming most origin stories that have hit theaters recently, from from both DC and Fox’s X-Men franchise. Fandango reports that Captain Marvel is sitting just below Black Panther‘s pre-sale numbers. And it’s beating out the likes of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Deadpool in the process. Carol Danvers will be going higher, further, faster, and now it seems that her movie’s box office performance may be following suit.

Anticipation for Captain Marvel has been steadily growing for years, as Brie Larson was announced to be playing the title character back in 2016, fresh after winning an Academy Award for her emotional performance in Room. So it’s been years of waiting and hoping for information, as Marvel Studios kept its cards close to the chest, as per usual. This made the first images and trailers especially exciting, along with the myriad familiar faces that are set to appear.

While Carol Danvers is a new character for Marvel fans, there are quite a few characters making resurgences in Captain Marvel. Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg are reprising their roles as Nick Fury and Agent Coulson respectively, being digitally de-aged for the 90’s set story. Additionally, Guardians of the Galaxy characters Ronan The Accuser and Korath will also be appearing in significant roles, making Captain Marvel is super connected to what we’ve seen from Marvel.

Then there’s Brie Larson’s upcoming role in Avengers: Endgame, and Nick Fury’s call to her during Infinity War‘s post-credits scene. Captain Marvel is set up to be a big gun in the upcoming battle against Thanos, and Captain Marvel will no doubt feature its own juicy credits scene to keep us guessing.

Captain Marvel will finally hit theaters on March 8th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Godzilla Vs. Kong Is Coming Out Even Sooner Than We Thought

The right release date can make or break a film. Getting a movie in front of audiences during the time that they want to see it can be the difference between box office success and failure. As a result, competition for dates can be fierce as studios have begun to stake out weekends further and further in advance in order to be sure that another studio doesn’t get there first. Warner Bros. just set several new release dates for upcoming films, but they also changed some existing ones, including moving up Godzilla vs. Kong by nine weeks.

Godzilla vs. Kong was originally set to open May 22, 2020. While the date originally had been left mostly alone, recently, it was announced that Fast and Furious 9 was being pushed back from its previous April 2020 date to May 22, making some significant potential competition for the giant monster movie.

Whether Godzilla vs. Kong decided it didn’t want to go head-to-head with “the family” or will just be ready to hit screens sooner than anticipated, according to Deadline, the film has now moved up the schedule and will now see release on March 13 2020.

This moves Godzilla vs. Kong out of the frequently lucrative summer movie season, but recent years have shown that blockbuster movies of a certain size can open more or less whenever they want and serious money can still be made. Venom broke the box office in October and the holiday season has seen films do as well or better as anything released in May or June.

The March date that Godzilla vs. Kong now has could still see some potential competition on opening weekend, but it’s far from guaranteed. Blumhouse has been holding the date for an as yet unannounced horror project. That movie could turn out to be big but while Blumhouse has been an incredibly successful studio in recent years, they tend to release smaller movies, not the sort that you expect to compete with the likes of Godzilla vs. Kong.

The movie that could cut into the monster movie’s bottom line is the other release current set for that date, the superhero movie Gambit. The question about that movie, of course, is whether or not we’ll ever actually see it. The project has had its release date rescheduled more times than we can count as the movie has had a hard time finding directors. There’s a perfectly reasonable chance the movie could get moved again.

And that assumes that it ever actually happens in the first place. With the Disney/Fox merger still being finalized, nothing has been decided regarding the future of the X-Men franchise that has been announced. It would surprise nobody if the movie was simply cancelled once Disney takes control because it doesn’t fit with the new studio’s plans for the characters. If that happens, Godzilla vs. Kong will be in great position as the only major release of the weekend.

Offset Swears Off Cheating On New Cardi B Collab ‘Clout’

The rollout for Offset‘s debut solo album, Father of 4, originally eyed late 2018 as the release date — but inexplicable delays and the near-destruction of his marriage to Cardi B became perhaps larger than the LP itself. Today (February 22), though, the album has finally been released, and on it is “Clout,” a collaboration with Cardi that isn’t just an attack on fame-chasers. It also contains a key line where Offset says he’ll never step out on Cardi again.

Both Cardi and Offset have seen their fair share of headlines outside of their respective music careers. Offset’s alleged infidelity in the past seemed to generate friction between the husband and wife, with Cardi at one point claiming that the relationship just wasn’t working out. Offset worked hard to win her back, interrupting her set at Rolling Loud in December to show her how sorry he was.

By the time the 61st Grammy Awards rolled around earlier this month, the pair appeared back together, with Offset accompanying Cardi onstage when she accepted the award for Best Rap Album. He also gave her one hell of a look when she performed “Money” during the show.

This all goes to say that “Clout” finds the two uniting in the face of enemies and threats. On the song, the two call out those who want attention and do anything to get it. The chorus literally screams, “They do anything for clout, do anything for clout” over and over. Offset then takes his time to shout out his wife and her gift-giving abilities (“I bought her the Lambo, she bought me the Wraith”). The most interesting, and perhaps most telling line, though, is when he assures Cardi, and listeners by extension, that he’s staying away from distraction. “Shorty DM me, I’m straight / I’m not gon’ bite on the bait,” he raps confidently.

Cardi B joins afterward for a slick-talking verse that doesn’t call anyone out but lets everyone know that she’s accepting all challengers. “They know I’m the bomb, they ticking me off / Saying anything to get a response / I know that mean they traffic is low,” she spits with puddles of acid forming on the ground in front of her. She wrestles the attention away from Offset with her venomous verse, creating one of the album’s strongest points.

Last week, Offset teased the release of his album with a trailer featuring footage of Cardi giving birth. Earlier this week, he released the video for the album’s lead single, “Red Room.” Now, we finally have the LP — and “Clout” — available for consumption. Listen to the song above.

Nick Jonas Channels His Inner Jackson Maine With ‘Shallow’ Cover

Looks like Nick Jonas is ready for the Oscars.

Jonas Brothers fans may be waiting with bated breath over whether or not the trio will soon reunite, but in the meantime the third sibling is giving us life with some new music of his own, or at least his rendition of a very popular song.

Jonas took to Instagram for a stripped down version of A Star Is Born’s Oscar-nominated track “Shallow.” Clad in a casual hoodie and baseball cap combo, the “Jealous” crooner gave the track a soulful, heartfelt treatment that has commenters swooning.

“In honor of Oscar weekend… such a beautiful song,” Jonas captioned the short clip, tagging wife Priyanka Chopra in an adorable dedication. She may have even filmed the video, because who’d want to miss their husband during a sweet moment like this?

The acoustic tribute was less of a spectacle than Lady Gaga’s 2019 Grammys performance, but it was indeed true to the spirit of A Star Is Born, and we want to hear the full version ASAP. Unfortunately, Nick caps the song off right after the end of the first chorus.

The popular song has been racking up awards this season, as has A Star Is Born. The Oscar-nominated film took home the award for Best Song Written for Visual Media with “Shallow,” and a BAFTA Award for Best Original Music in the same day. The movie itself is up for several Oscars, including Best Picture, Lead Actor for Bradley Cooper, Lead Actress for Lady Gaga, Supporting Actor for Sam Elliott, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, and of course Original Song.

Perhaps if “Shallow” takes home the Oscar it’s nominated for this weekend when the award ceremony finally takes place, Nick will bless our feeds with a more complete version of the song. Watch how it all goes down this Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. ET.

This $12 Scar Cream From Amazon Saved My Skin After a Facial Gone Wrong

About a month ago, I had a really wonderful facial that suddenly took a very dark turn. After a thorough consultation and what was perhaps the best face massage of my life, my esthetician moved on to extractions. Now, extractions are never fun, but these were particularly painful because of congestion and an under-the-surface breakout on my forehead that required a lot of picking and squeezing.

I wasn’t surprised to have quite a bit of discomfort, but I was surprised by what felt like a needle (I had my eyes closed the whole time and my brain was in spa mode so I wasn’t paying attention) picking and slicing at a milia (hardened puss trapped below the skin—very chic) close to my left eye. I left my facial with the glow I was promised, but I was also covered in red spots, the biggest being a dark wound where the milia was extracted.

I tried not to cry while tipping my esthetician, and immediately cancelled my plans for the evening. As soon as got home, I wiped away my tears and buried myself in research on what to do to fix this mess.

If it seems like I’m being a touch dramatic, let me give you some background. For some reason, my skin is a delicate flower that holds onto redness—like the temporary one you get after a facial—for years. I’ve been told by my dermatologist that this is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, not scarring. But still, it’ll linger. At 22, I’m still working on marks I have from high school breakouts. That’s why I wasn’t thrilled to have a large wound right by my eye, which was all but guaranteed to become a red spot.

Deep in the comments section of one of my favorite sites, I came across a scar ointment from Thailand called Hiruscar. The reviews convinced me this could fix my problem, but to be safe I cross-checked with some other sites. MakeupAlley? Glowing reviews. Amazon? Tons of five stars. I’ve never clicked one-step checkout so fast.

Two days later (bless Amazon Prime in these situations), the tiny tube arrived at my doorstep. Hiruscar is a clear gel that has a very slight onion-y smell (more on that in a second) and absorbs quickly. It’s not greasy or oily. For the best results, the brand recommends using it three times a day, but I’ve only been using it once.

According to Hiruscar’s website, the gel’s healing powers come from its six key ingredients. That onion smell I mentioned? It can be attributed to allium, a compound found in garlic (remember when Instagram had us rubbing garlic on pimples?) that has microbial properties that can help reduce redness in inflamed skin. Hiruscar also has Aloe and Vitamin E, which are well-loved for their healing and redness-reducing properties; Vitamin B3, which hydrates and can improve skin elasticity; Allantoin, which provides moisture and helps with cell turnover; and Mucopolysaccharide Polysulphate (MPS), an anti-inflammatory compound.

That was about a month ago. I’ve been applying the gel on the spot on my eye once a day, every day, and it has all but vanished. I first noticed it lighten after about a week of using Hiruscar. It’s still a little pink, but that’s still much less noticeable than my usual post-blemish pigment. I’ve started using the gel on some older spots on my cheeks, in conjunction with my usual acid regimen, and have noticed a bit of lightening—nothing too dramatic, but I’ll happily take all the help I can get.

Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson Clarifies Comments About Inclusivity In The Press

It’s an especially exciting time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as there are only one more releases until Phase Three is completed with Avengers: Endgame. While all eyes are on how the surviving heroes will fight back against Thanos after his snap, first up is Carol Danvers’ origin story in Captain Marvel. Brie Larson’s signature Marvel character will finally arrive on the scene, in a 90’s set blockbuster that will also expand a variety of favorite characters’ backstories.

Brie Larson recently came under some fire for comments made during her press tour for Captain Marvel. The Oscar winning actress was encouraging more diversity in the press and among critics, although that resulted in some backlash that manifested on the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page. ReelBlend co-host and Fox 5 Entertainment Reporter Kevin McCarthy recently spoke with Larson about the ongoing situation, where she clarified her comments, saying:

Carol Danvers has spoken. After her comments about inclusion among film critics blew up into a viral story, Brie Larson took this time to expand her thoughts. While she’d like more people of color and women in the industry, she’s not hoping this happens at the cost of other journalists.

Brie Larson’s comments to Kevin McCarthy come after Captain Marvel‘s Rotten Tomatoes began suffering from some serious trolling. The comments section is full of angry references to her call for diversity, with white men claiming they don’t need to see the upcoming Marvel blockbuster because it’s “not for them”. But Larson stands by her earlier statements, encouraging inclusion in all facets of the film industry, including the press.

The original statement itself came early in Brie Larson’s press run leading up to the release of Captain Marvel. She was quoted about the lack of inclusion among film critics, and how that might negatively affect the reviews of films that feature more diverse protagonists. Larson had said:

Inclusion and representation in the film industry has been a major focus of conversation over the past few years, which is likely what helped prompt Brie Larson’s comments. In addition to cast, crew, and directors, Larson is extending this call for diversity to film critics as well. And now she’s had the chance to expand upon her thoughts, and hopefully appease the naysayers out there who took offense.

Captain Marvel will arrive in theaters on March 8th, with Brie Larson making her highly anticipated Marvel debut in the process. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Fighting With My Family Reviews Are In, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

Professional wrestlers like Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, and Dave Bautista have successfully made the leap from the ring to the movie screen, but the film industry has histically paid little attention to the place where they all came from. That changes this weekend with Fighting With My Family the true story of Saraya Knight, who grew up around wrestling, and then followed her dream to become a superstar in the WWE. While opinions about sports entertainment as an industry tend to vary wildly, opinions about this movie do not. It’s good. CinemaBlend’s review came from Mike Reyes who gave the film three and a half stars saying…

Mike’s opinion tends to be shared by most reviews. The film currently sits with a 93% fresh score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. That actually puts it one point higher than this weekend’s other wide release, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (though the animated film has significantly more reviews to its credit).

One potential issue that Fighting With My Family may have to deal with at the box office is that not everybody finds the WWE’s product all that interesting. However, the Boston Globe says one of the reason’s the film succeeds is that you can still enjoy it even if you’re not a wrestling fan.

Fighting with My Family follows Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) as she leaves her native England for the WWE’s Performance Center in Florida and trains to become a superstar. She has experience in the world of the predetermined sporting event, but she’s not really prepared for the “reality” of the WWE.

Making a fairly traditional “inspirational sports movie” out of an activity where the results are predetermined many seem like an odd combination, and Richard Roeper would agree, but he believes the movie pulls it off.

Of course, In addition to being a movie about a woman trying to join the WWE, it’s also a movie produced by WWE Studios, (and former superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) which means that the movie clearly has an angle. While Forbes still gives the film a positive review, it also points this out…

Most reviews frame their view of the film as a “sports movie;” It’s a pretty tried and true genre that traditionally combines a character or characters fighting against the odds of success, and uses the sport itself as the action set piece to give the story a bit of action and built in drama.

While most are calling Fighting With My Family a better than average sports movie, it is still a pretty traditional example of the genre, so if you’re not one for tropes, it’s possible you might agree with THR, who felt that the film was just another example of a tired genre.

As somebody who has been a fan of WWE since I was nine-years-old, and actually watched parts of Fighting With My Family when they happened on live TV, I was already on board with the movie from the beginning, nut I would agree with most reviews that it definitely has a little something that elevates beyond the standard biopic. The story of WWE’s Paige is one worth seeing, and it’s also not terrible that professional wrestling is given it’s first serious movie treatment. Just because the outcome is predetermined, doesn’t mean the drama is any less real.

Can This Tiny Device Fix Your Posture?

I STAND CORRECTED Testing the original posture gadget in 1923.
I STAND CORRECTED Testing the original posture gadget in 1923. Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Getty Images

I’LL ADMIT, I had grand delusions that getting my posture fixed might involve being bound to a chair with Hermès scarfs—much like Anne Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries”—while Dame Julie Andrews casually insulted me into form. Instead I found myself sitting at my desk as a small device gently shocked my back like a dog testing an electric fence, reminding me to sit up straight vs. slouching almost sideways as is my wont.

Those who are worried about what desk work might be doing to their backs, or who are keen to receive thrilling little jolts, may find the small, tingly gadget known as the Upright Go ($80, uprightpose.com) appealing. At roughly the size of a USB drive, it clings firmly to your back all day thanks to adhesive strips, and zaps you each time you begin to hunch over your keyboard. It also syncs to an app that tracks your posture.

Can This Tiny Device Fix Your Posture?

Many trackers, like those meant to tally sleep patterns, often help identify a problem but do little to fix it. The Upright Go’s training mode aims higher, promising to help strengthen back muscles and eliminate fatigue. “The benefit of having a device that tracks posture is that it focuses on finding and correcting the source of the pain, not just treating it,” said Dr. Debra Maibach, a chiropractor in Stirling, N.J.

After I wore the device for 5 hours, obediently straightening at each shock, I was sitting taller—and so were my observing co-workers. But, boy, did my back ache. “Your core muscles are getting stronger to support your spine and have a long term effect,” said Ori Fruhauf, the brand’s co-founder, encouragingly. He recommended that I wear the device for at least two weeks to see permanent results, but donning it for a long weekend had my abs and lower back throbbing and I was itching to peel it off. For now, I think I’ll just stick to core workouts—or I could always try balancing a book atop my enchanting new tiara.

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.

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I Drove a Screaming Fast Ferrari Among Ordinary Cars

GIMME A BRAKE The flashy Pista can go from 0-62 mph in 2.85 seconds and return to a dead stop in 93.5 feet.
GIMME A BRAKE The flashy Pista can go from 0-62 mph in 2.85 seconds and return to a dead stop in 93.5 feet. Photo: Ferrari

AS GREAT DRIVING roads go, Interstate 10 isn’t. The road between Phoenix and Los Angeles is nearly straight, almost featureless, an automotive conveyor belt through vault and valley 400 miles long. On some stretches the speed limit goes up to 75 mph, but last week, in my test car—a nuclear-tipped Ferrari 488 called the Pista—distance/time came to a droning standstill. My fellow travelers and I huddled together around 84 mph (the speed limit +9), hoping there would be safety in numbers. The desert scenery repeated like a cartoon backdrop. The tall saguaros mocked me.

The Pista ($445,437, as tested) has a top speed of 211 mph, but I’m no hero. I had been warned that if I were caught going over 100 mph in Arizona I would not be returning to the comfort of my hotel. Sure, I hammered the Pista around some remote desert roads and got a nice power drift going in an empty parking lot. The Pista wasn’t impressed. This track-hardened, mass-optimized rewrite of the 488 GTB (midengine berlinetta, aluminum space-frame) is up to 198 pounds lighter and 49 hp more potent (710 hp), breathing through gills in its hips and bristling with race-derived body bits.

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista

I Drove a Screaming Fast Ferrari Among Ordinary Cars

Base Price: $349,050

Price as Tested: $445,437

Powertrain: Mid-mounted turbocharged and intercooled direct-injection 3.9-liter DOHC V8; seven-speed dual-clutch rear transaxle; electronically limited rear differential

Power/Torque: 710 hp at 6,000 rpm/770 Newton-meters (569 lb-ft) at 3,000 rpm (in seventh gear)

Length/Width/Height/Wheelbase: 181.3/77.8/47.5/104.3 in.

Curb Weight: 3,053 pounds w/ optional carbon-fiber wheels

0-62 mph: 2.85 seconds

0-124 mph: 7.6 seconds

62-0 mph brake distance: 93.5 feet

EPA Fuel Economy: 15/20/17, city/highway/combined

Cargo Capacity: 6 cubic feet

But there was that one time, when the coast was clear, I was able to test a fascinating new Ferrari talking point. They don’t even have a name for it yet so I shall dub it the Mamma Mia function. At lower speeds, the Ferrari’s computer actually restrains the turbocharged engine from delivering maximum torque all at once, first to avoid overwhelming the tires and second to mimic the responses of a classic (non-turbo) Ferrari V8, where throttle demand, revs, sound and horsepower all rise and fall together. It’s a character thing. That’s nice.

But, if you are already chuffing along in seventh gear at highway speeds, the pedal map algorithm sort of works the other way. The full measure of the engine and transmission eagerness stays cued up like a thunderclap. Just press the button, after which comes a series of booster rocket-like upshifts, as many as you have road for. God’s passing maneuver.

I tightened my grip on the wheel, gritted my teeth, said a small prayer to St. Geppetto, patron saint of titanium con-rods, and romped it. There was still the briefest hesitation in the 3.9-liter, twin-turbo V8’s response, as if the car were asking, “Are you really sure you want this?”

Too late. The engine’s power was on me like an enraged mountain troll, stuffing me into the padded carbon seat. G-force butterflies swarmed in my stomach and saliva gushed in my mouth. Ooo, that tickles. In these noisy and dynamic few milliseconds the fat rear Michelins hazed and the Pista’s posterior waggled left, then right, violently, a 710-hp twerk. I laughed out loud but my blood ran cold. With the discreet help of the car’s traction-control system and the knot-tight steering, I gathered it back up in time for my appointment with fourth gear, still out of the wall and still in the throttle, wahooosh-BANG! OK, car, I’m only going to let you do that seven or eight more times, then I’m cutting you off.

Ferrari says the Pista—the name means “track” in Italian—surges from 62 to 124 mph in a can’t-breathe, can’t-blink 4.75 seconds. Fairly vigorous for a sportsman/collector’s track toy.

You know how on long trips you wind up synchronized with other motorists? First it was the guy in the blue Ford F-250 with a bent wheel wobbling violently, mile after mile. I kept back, watching and dreading the crash that I was sure would follow but never came. Ferrari says the Pista’s carbon-ceramic stoppers can halt the car from 62 mph in 93.5 feet. I took comfort in that.

I Drove a Screaming Fast Ferrari Among Ordinary Cars

Then there was the man in the black Mercedes-Benz sedan who, when he first spotted the Ferrari’s dorsal stripes, raced to catch up, then took phone video from every angle. For a long while, at least 50 miles, he followed behind, leering at the Pista’s magnificent derrière, the engine under its transparent cover, reclining in carbon-fiber lingerie.

And of course, my fellow motorists got to know me, Monsignor Sugar Daddy.

If you are in the market for the special-edition Pista, congratulations. I hope you and your sciatica are very happy together. Be reminded that this car doesn’t have the conveniences of your other Ferraris: no glove box, no smart door handles, no fluffy leather seats, no carpets and an impossible-to-find cruise control. To keep up with my friends I had to manually hold the revs around 3,000 rpm in seventh gear for a long while. Alas, three grand just happens to be the tipping point for the active exhaust system, when the Pista’s exhaust note morphs from its unprepossessing, razzy flatulence at low revs to something approaching a proper snarl.

I Drove a Screaming Fast Ferrari Among Ordinary Cars

As a result, on long stretches of I-10, the Pista’s exhaust note kept widening and narrowing, unrestricting and restricting, following the topography and lazy jostle of traffic, sounding like a lugubrious Italian trombone, hnhnhn-wHHHHAAAHHHH-hnhnhn. I know what I’d fix first if I were an owner.

One other note from the audio department: Lightweight Inconel exhaust manifolds supplant the GTB’s tubular headers, and the resulting high-rev resonances are brighter and louder, up to 8 dB in the Pista’s cabin, says Ferrari. The Inconel puts some thrill, some trill, back into Ferrari engine notes that have tended toward the anemic with turbocharging.

‘The man in the Benz raced to catch up with me, then took phone video from every angle.’

The Pista sheds nearly 200 pounds compared with the standard 488 GTB road car—almost 40 pounds from the engine alone (titanium con-rods, lightweight flywheel). The Pista’s carbon-fiber aero elements take weight off both ends. May I draw your attention to the S-Duct, the hurricane hole behind the front bumper, blasting downforce onto the nose of the car? That comes at a price of only 2 cubic feet of “frunk” space, compared with the GTB.

In the rear the curvaceous body-integrated spoiler—a blown wing, in the parlance—manages departing airflow while, on the underside, a vaned diffuser helps the Pista generate up to 529 pounds of downforce (at 124 mph), says Ferrari, an 18% increase over the 488 GTB.

Only do mind the trolls.

Write to Dan Neil at Dan.Neil@wsj.com

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Chinese Rap Group Higher Brothers Recruits Schoolboy Q, Soulja Boy, More For New Album

Over the past few years, thanks to a persistent web presence and a determination to take risks, Chinese trap dynamos Higher Brothers have steadily become the most famous hip-hop group in their home country — and one whose name is known far and wide in the West as well. “Rap is becoming more popular in China, because the Internet is making the world closer,” member MaSiWei told Paper in June 2017. “Higher Brothers is representing China and we want to continue putting Asia on the map.”

That same month, a viral video of rappers like Migos, Joey Purp, Denzel Curry, and more watching the group’s “Made in China” music video became an essential part of their story. All of them unsurprisingly dug the song and the four members’ energies. Some even said they’d be open to working together in the future.

Now, less than two years later, Higher Brothers have released their second album, Five Star, and included in its 14 tracks are collaborations with rap heavy hitters like Curry himself, Schoolboy Q, J.I.D., Rich Brian, Soulja Boy, Ski Mask the Slump God, and more. It’s out today (February 22) and features the singles “Open It Up,” “16 Hours,” and the Chinese New Year celebration anthem, “Gong Xi Fa Cai.”

Each track on Five Stars is helmed by a different producer, allowing for all four Higher Brothers — MaSiWei, DZKnow, Psy.P, and Melo — to showcase their flows across a panoply of atmospheres, from airy and breezy “Flexing So Hard” to slick and poppy on “Sunshine” to yearning trap&B on “Need Me Now” to smoldering on the Ski Mask/Curry collab “One Man Punch.”

Though Higher Brothers have been active for years, this new album feels like a proper arrival. “Just a couple of years ago when we were all living in one room together with nothing at all — and not knowing any English,” the group tweeted from the 88rising account right before the album dropped. “We couldn’t have imagined to come this far. This album represents our dreams.”

Stream Higher Brothers’ Five Stars in full below.