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What Does Heaven Look Like in the Movies?

Filmmakers have been trying to crack heaven’s code for decades. Do you include pearly gates? Angels with golden halos? Just lots of people dressed in white? In the case of Heaven Is for Real, a new movie based on the best-selling novel of the same name, heaven is described as the stereotypical, above-the-clouds place where the Holy Spirit doles out help for those on Earth and God lounges around all day in a giant chair.

Though star Greg Kinnear has said that the movie is not just for religious folks, it is still being marketed at faith-based viewers as a story that challenges our thoughts on death and what exists after we shuffle off. Of course, not every movie that depicts heaven is intended to spark a conversation about religion. Here is a (non-comprehensive) look at how some movies tried to illustrate the afterlife.


Orphan Black Season 2 Premiere Recap: The Death Chakras

Hello! I’m Danielle. There’s nothing I love more than feminism, television, and watching people get kicked in the face, so Orphan Black is the heart-quickening apex of my ball-breaking dreams. I used to write Feminist Ryan Gosling and, before I left graduate school, a ton of papers, but now I’m the Arts & Culture editor for The Stranger here in Seattle and I write about television for Vulture (Scandal, Orange is the New Black, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and other things). I think of recaps as a good base for your in-depth comments and observations, so I’m incredibly excited to dig into this show with you each week.

I thought the threat of the first act would be the too-nice line cook. »

Are You Ready for Another Godzilla Trailer?

We still have a few weeks until the May 16 release of Godzilla, but at least there's now a fourth Godzilla trailer to pore over. In addition to some footage we've seen in the others, this one gives us more of Elizabeth Olsen's storyline as she bids her boyfriend (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) adieu with the endearingly naive, "You're only gonna be gone for a few days, right?" There’s also Ken Watanabe saying something profound, which is all a welcome change from the all those shots of Bryan Cranston screaming. But the best thing here is the first full look at the monster himself. He seems mad as hell.

Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz Tour Has Been Officially Postponed

While poor Miley Cyrus rests up in the hospital following a nasty sinus infection and severe allergic reaction to antibiotics, her tour has officially been postponed. Although a recovery is expected in time to kick off the European leg in Amsterdam on May 2, the recently canceled dates (including Kansas City and St. Louis) will have to wait until early August. The live Bangerz is set to resume stateside in Uniondale, New York on August 1. We know it's not the same, but fans should at least be grateful that they can watch Cyrus all day, everyday via social media.

Gwen Stefani Might Join The Voice Next Season

Having already chosen Pharrell Williams to replace CeeLo Green on The Voice, NBC is now reportedly looking for someone to fill the pregnant Christina Aguilera's seat before taping for the seventh season begins in June: Deadline's "informed sources" say that replacement could be Gwen Stefani. So far, there's no confirmation from the network on whether Stefani is on board, but the the potential pick makes sense, considering that she has previously mentored on American Idol


Hear Prince’s Brand-New Single

In what turned out to be quite a super Friday, Prince announced an upcoming album (courtesy of a new partnership with his onetime overlords Warner Bros. Records) and did a surprise release of a new single, too. While we wait for the full album to be finished, go ahead and listen to "The Breakdown," a smooth song about sadness, below. Back in March, Prince told Arsenio Hall that it's currently his favorite song to play.

Best of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Streaming: Easter Egg Hunt Edition

This weekend, as you search for a movie to watch, you can celebrate Easter and watch a perennial like The Ten Commandments or pick one of approximately 14 billion options available on streaming over a variety of services, be it Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, or other sites. Every Friday, Vulture tries to make life easier by narrowing it down to a handful of heartily recommended options. This week, your very own cinematic Easter egg hunt. Can you find them all?

Before Marvel or Pixar joined the Easter egg game, Disney peppered their own features with nods to 70 years of animation history. »

10 Pop-Culture Questions Answered by Vulture This Week

Every week, Vulture faces the big, important questions in entertainment and comes to some creative conclusions. This week, we were shocked by the latest episode of Game of Thrones, watched the premiere of Mad Men, and shook our heads as James Franco continued to be, well, James Franco. Naturally, spoilers follow. You may have read some of these stories below, but you certainly didn’t read them all. We forgive you.

How was the premiere of Mad Men? »

The ‘Girl Walk’ Dancer Has Some Questions for Pharrell

In 2011, Anne Marsen filmed a joyous 71-minute film called "Girl Walk // All Day," in which she danced all around New York to a Girl Talk mixtape. (It was fun; you should watch it.) In 2013, Pharrell filmed a joyous 24-hour-long video for his hit single "Happy," in which he danced all around everywhere while singing about rooms without roofs. If the concepts sound similar, it is because they are, and Marsen put together a side-by-side video to demonstrate how closely some of the "Happy" shots resemble "Girl Walk" shots. In a statement to Spin, Pharrell's camp said that neither he nor his creative team had seen "Girl Walk" before making "Happy." Marsen, for her part, told the magazine that "it's a great thing that dance is getting recognition as a long-form kind of thing." But: "At the same time, we feel like we're not getting the recognition for this."

Laura Prepon Will Be on Orange Is the New Black’s Third Season, If There Is One

After it was reported that Laura Prepon would only be on Orange Is the New Black for a few episodes this coming season, BuzzFeed is reporting that she will appear full time on season three — if there is one, that is. (This hasn't been confirmed by Netflix yet.) Here's the explanation: "After Season 1 filmed, Prepon, who had only a one-season contract, decided she did not want to commit to being a series regular, and opted not to come back. After the show became Netflix’s biggest hit, and the tidal wave of viewer sorrow nearly drowned Prepon, Netflix, and the show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, the plan was rejiggered for Prepon to return for four Season 2 episodes (instead of a mere one), and to leave things open for heavier involvement in the presumed third season." Sounds great! Just give us that third season, Netflix.

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 5:30 PM

Ebiri on A Haunted House 2: A Movie-Length Nervous Breakdown

A Haunted House 2 is not a movie. It is a nervous breakdown. Directed by Michael Tiddes but largely the handiwork of star, producer, and co-writer Marlon Wayans, the film is being billed as yet another Wayans-ized spoof of the horror movie genre, à la the first Haunted House movie and the wildly successful Scary Movie series. (Keenen Ivory Wayans and his brothers were responsible for the first two Scary Movie films; they have since left that franchise, which may explain why a new one was needed.) And there are some familiar digs at recent horror flicks: This time, the creepy doll and the closet from The Conjuring, the family-murdering demon from Sinister, and the dybbuk box from The Possession all make appearances. But this new film is mostly an excuse for star Marlon Wayans to have extended freak-outs in response to the horrors visited upon him — shrieking, screaming, crying, cowering, and occasionally hate-fucking for minutes on end. Yes, you read that last bit right. A Haunted House 2 puts the satyriasis back in satire.

There are stabs at other types of humor here. »

James Franco May Be Batman, a Robot, or a Clone

How on earth does James Franco find the time to be, well, James Franco? By the time the rest of us have crawled out of bed and made a pot of coffee, he’s written a book, gotten the adaptation of said book into a film festival, made a cameo in a fun project, caused a scandal, and appeared onstage in his Broadway debut (during which he'll shoot another movie). For those of us observing from the sidelines — and even to some of his fellow collaborators — it can seem like a daunting schedule, as Vulture discovered when we asked the cast and crew of his aforementioned Broadway debut, Of Mice and Men, to figure out exactly how he does it.

Franco’s friend and co-star Jim Parrack assured us that there is no “secret secret.” »

Michelle Obama Will Appear on Nashville

Michelle Obama will appear on the May 7 episode of Nashville, in which Rayna (Connie Britton) organizes a charity confer, ABC announced today. Oh, FLOTUS, Nashville? We'll assume the First Lady is too busy to keep up with the show, because if she'd seen even a single episode this season, she'd know that it has really lost its luster; there's nothing inherently wrong with country-music kabuki, but there's no excuse for terrible pacing and unrecognizable human behavior. At least iCarly knew how to see a story through to its natural conclusion.

Ask a Career Coach: 4 Things Don Draper Should Do to Fix His Life

Don Draper needs a job. He needs a lot of things, actually: a wife he views as an equal, some true friends, a recreational hobby (tennis, maybe? furniture restoration?), and certainly an AA group. But these needs are as old as Mad Men; we've known about the women and the booze as long as we've known Don Draper. What's new this season is that the legendary ad man — the dickish creative genius, the "Why I'm quitting tobacco" guy — is now mostly without a job, sitting sadly on his couch, ghostwriting for lesser men. The last of his purpose has drained out of him. It is not a good look.

“Maybe say, Fuck advertising, I'm done with this shit.»

See Every Food Porn Shot From NBC's Hannibal

If Dr. Hannibal Lecter ever wrote a cookbook, it would be titled, How to Cook Everyone. (Or, maybe, To Serve Man — copyright Rod Serling.) Dr. Lecter is the classiest cannibal around, with the hands of Jacques Pepin and the face of an intense Danish actor. Throughout the show, he prepares lavish meals from the body parts of his various victims: Cassie Boyle’s lungs, some random guy running away in the woods, serial killer James Gray. Like the grisly murder tableaus that are so lovely you can’t look away from them, the dishes on Hannibal are so food porn-y you don’t know whether to grab a fork or to throw up. His guests gush over his elegant plates, ignorant to the fact that they're about to eat people. Click through to see every dish he’s made on the show so far.  

Edelstein on Heaven Is for Real: A Gentle Movie That Wants Us to Believe the Best of Death

In 2003, Colton Burpo, the 5-year-old son of Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo, had emergency surgery for a burst appendix, and though he didn’t technically “die” or have a “near-death experience,” he left his body for approximately three (Earth) minutes and visited heaven — where he met Jesus (still bearing the marks of his crucifixion), Mary, the Holy Spirit, angels in white choir robes with wings, the grandfather who perished long before he was born, and the sister who died in his mother’s womb but was now growing normally, beautifully. Because heaven time is longer than Earth time, Colton was able to observe many things that conformed to descriptions in Scripture, of which he — being 5 — could obviously have had no prior knowledge.

Pastor Burpo’s account of his son’s journey became a huge bestseller. »

Max Greenfield to Star in Michael Showalter Movie

Talking to the Wrap, Greenfield revealed he will be starring in a new film written and directed by Michael Showalter. Greenfield — who first worked with Showalter on They Came Together, the David Wain rom-com parody Showalter co-wrote — described Hello My Name Is Doris as a dramedy about an older woman who is “forced to kind of find a new life in the city” after the death of her mother, and the younger guy (Greenfield) whom she thinks is the answer. This will be Showalter’s second feature, after 2005’s The Baxter, in which Showalter has remarked that he wishes he could’ve had a different actor star, instead of himself. Watch out, Paul Rudd, it appears these guys might’ve found their new handsome surrogate.    

Orphan Black Is Back and You Should Watch It

Orphan Black's second season debuts on Saturday — which means there's still time to catch up! And you should; the show is terrific. It's original and confident, beautifully acted and perfectly paced. There's the sinister international-conspiracy stuff, decent action sequences, and the fun kind of violence, but maybe more important, the show also has a sense of humor. It's not all sad ladies and anonymous, cloudy Canadian backdrops! The show contains multitudes.

I haven't evangelized this hard for a sci-fi series since I launched my quest to make every human on earth watch Battlestar Galactica. »

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 2:00 PM
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‘I Only Do Outraged’: Vincent Kartheiser on Pete Campbell, Mad Men’s Final Season, and Internet Haters

Mad Men’s sixth season was a disastrous one for Pete Campbell, Sterling Cooper & Partners’ charmingly smarmy advertising-accounts executive—which made it a great one for Vincent Kartheiser, who plays him. In the span of 13 episodes, Pete got thrown out of the house by his wife, Trudy, for cheating; ran into his father-in-law at a brothel, costing SC&P the $9 million Vicks Chemical account; got banished to the firm’s nascent Los Angeles office; and tangled with a sociopathic co-worker, Bob Benson, who stole the Chevy account from him and may have played a role in the murder of Pete’s mother.

Pete has never been easy to like, but Kartheiser’s exasperated reactions to every setback have launched a thousand gifs and transformed a once-loathsome character into an oddly endearing one. All of which seems to have only inflamed Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s sadistic tendencies: “When you put him in positions to be wronged,” Weiner says, “you know you’re gonna get a full Jack Lemmon kind of frustration and anger that’s very physical, very funny.” Like the time, also last season, when, during an argument with his nemesis, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Pete fell on his ass down a flight of stairs. “It was amazing,” says Weiner. “That was one of the payoffs to spending all that money building that staircase. We knew he would just be apoplectic.”

Hamm: “We’ve all made our peace with Vinnie’s antics. It’s crossed out of annoying and landed into adorable.” »

Dave Holmes Flashes Back to the Insane, Riveting Battle of the Network Stars

We are coming up on another Coachella weekend and, even though I’m not going, my ringing ears need a break. So for this week’s installment of Somewhere in Time, we’re going to take a little day trip in my Delorean GIF in the opposite direction. If you were alive in the 1970s and 1980s, and if you were raised by a television set as I was, you have fond memories of the biannual TV extravaganza event Battle of the Network Stars, in which your favorite personalities from ABC, CBS, and NBC would show off their athleticism (by which I mean their thighs and chests). It was an all-out war for bragging rights (and actual money — each player for the winning team would win $20,000 for themselves and not for charity), and I don’t think there’s anything I miss more. So guess what: On Monday nights, ESPN Classic shows four back-to-back reruns of ’70s and ’80s Battles of the Network Stars, and I can tell you with confidence that it’s worth changing your cable tier for, because that’s exactly what I did. Come with me as I count down the 12 best reasons why vintage BotNS is the binge-watch-worthiest show on television.



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