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  • Posted 12/18/14 at 1:17 AM

Celebrities React to The Interview Cancellation

News that Sony was canceling The Interview's stateside release brought out heartfelt reactions Wednesday from Hollywood's finest. Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Carell, and Aaron Sorkin led a concerned pack of celebrities venting on social media about free speech and the studio's cautious response to terror threats, which referenced 9/11. Sony's unprecedented decision came Wednesday afternoon, after five of the nation's biggest theater chains said they would pull Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's dark comedy from screens because of safety concerns. Here are some of today's reactions:

"Sad day for creative expression." »

  • Posted 12/18/14 at 12:52 AM
  • Primers

Everything That’s Happened in the Sony Leak Scandal

Three weeks ago, eerily adept cybercriminals hacked into Sony's computer systems, paralyzed their operations, and tapped into a trove of hypersensitive, internal information. Since that initial attack, a steady flow of revelations — including top employees' salaries, nasty Hollywood hardball emails, and illicit movie downloads — has trickled into news reports and file-sharing sites. The relentless thieves, dubbed Guardians of Peace, have made it clear that they're not done tormenting the company — and won't stop until Sony meets their demands. Here's a list of everything revealed and generated by the hacks so far.

From salaries to illicit downloads. »

American Horror Story's Emma Roberts On This Week's Episode and Her Crystal Balls

Con artist and fortune teller Maggie Esmerelda has been dealing with quite the moral dilemma on this season's American Horror Story: Freak Show. Will she betray her true love or her partner-in-crime? Will the freaks ever be able to accept her as one of their own -- and trust the fact that she might actually be able to help them? This week's episode had Maggie coming clean, but who knows whether or not she'll stay that way. We spoke to actress Emma Roberts, who plays the not-so-magical crystal ball reader about her very own magical tendencies and how, as an AHS superfan, the seasons are all tied together.

"I actually have a crystal ball in a special part of the house." »

Every 'Serial' Theory, From Most to Least Plausible

On February 26. 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of his ex-girlfriend Have Min Lee. If Sarah Koenig has done anything in the first 11 weeks of "Serial," it's complicate that hypothesis. The podcast's final episode probably won't — and can't — tie up every loose end once and for all, but that's just made its legions of obsessed fans even more convinced they can crack the case on their own. Here are their theories for what really happened the day Hae was killed, ranked from most to least plausible.

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North Korea ‘Centrally Involved’ in Sony Hack, U.S. Government Finds

Coming off the heels of the news that Sony was canceling the theatrical release of The Interview, the U.S. government has found that North Korea was behind the Sony hack after all — or at least "centrally involved," according to the New York Times. Sources wouldn't talk to the paper on the record, but multiple people in the intelligence community assure the Times that North Korea ordered the cyberattack, and CNN backs them up, saying the U.S. government is currently debating how best to deal with North Korea. Opinions reportedly differ on whether Kim Jong-Un's regime was aided by any former or current Sony employees. Either way, according to the Times, "intelligence officials have concluded" the cyberattack was "far more destructive than any seen before on American soil."

Watch Tina Fey Rib NPR in a 1997 Pre-SNL Sketch

Anything with Tina Fey doing anything is great, but how about a pre-famous performance where she plays an NPR host named Lynn Mahevic on a show called "Urban Wind"? It is the latest video unearthed by Splitsider's Second City Archives series. "Delicious Dish" predates Fey's Saturday Night Live run, but she clearly missed her calling at WNYC. 

  • Posted 12/17/14 at 5:20 PM
  • Art

8 Museum Directors Reveal Their Favorite Works of Art

Being a director of a museum is, unsurprisingly, busy work. In between management, fund-raising, working with curators, and everything else, directors don’t often look back and, well, reflect. And they rarely share the reason why they got into this game in the first place — the art. SEEN recently interrupted their chaotic schedules to find out, firstly, the first work of art that made an impression on them, and secondly, the piece of art currently in their museum’s collection that they can’t get out of their heads. Reading their answers below — which are thoughtful, precise, and surprising — it comes as no surprise that they are at the top of their field.   

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Sony Officially Cancels The Interview’s Theatrical Release

Now it's official: After the five largest movie theater chains in the country dropped The Interview from their schedules owing to threats from the hacker group Guardians of Peace, Sony has taken the unprecedented step of canceling the film's theatrical release. "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression," the studio said in a statement, but "the safety of employees and theater-goers" was "paramount."

  • Posted 12/17/14 at 3:45 PM

Friends Countdown: Is Rachel Green Jewish?

As a Jewish person, it was always very clear to me when watching Friends who was and who wasn't "on my team." The Gellers, sure — both Ross and Monica had quirks I could see in my own family. Rachel Green was a matter of debate. She always struck me as Jewish (and I'm not the only one), with her family hailing from Long Island (like mine!) and her preteen nose job. But I was never certain. In trying to properly decipher the clues, things didn't completely add up. Take Phoebe's Christmas song:

Monica, Monica, have a Happy Hanukkah,
I saw Santa Claus, he said “hello” to Ross.
And please tell Joey, Christmas will be snowy.
And Rachel and Chandler
[mumbles]-handler!

Thanks to errant rhyming, it's absolutely no help. Not to mention, both Gellers are confirmed half-Jewish, so Phoebe's holiday-specific references aren't even good hints. But! Thankfully, the rest of Friends has clues as to whether Rachel might have once been bat mitzvahed. Here's the evidence:

Read More  »

A Countdown to Streaming: 31 Days of Friends

Could we be more excited about the streaming premiere of Friends on Neflix on January 1? We're so excited, we're counting down to the day throughout all of December — call it another one of our very own Advent calendars. Every day we'll open a new "door" to something very fun and very Friends. What's not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Friends for an entire month? Good.

Angelina Jolie May or May Not Have Taken Chris Martin Hostage

Scratch beneath the surface of our most mainstream male musicians, and you'll find the soul of a stand-up comedian. John Mayer would rather tell jokes than sing earnest love songs, while Josh Groban's witty Twitter account will make you like him even more than your mom already does. Add to their ranks Chris Martin of Coldplay: When Vulture caught up with Martin this past weekend at a Hollywood luncheon meant to celebrate his song "Miracles," which plays over the closing credits of the film Unbroken, a very simple question put to the star — how did Angelina Jolie ask him to write the song for her second directorial effort? — became more of an improv-comedy prompt in Martin's hands.

"Angelina Jolie was just sitting there with her crown on." »

See an Eerily Accurate Parody of the ‘Serial’ Finale

After the wheel-spinning of the past few episodes, it's increasingly clear that "Serial" is probably not going to end with Sarah Koenig solving the murder of Hae Min Lee. And that's okay! In real life, Koenig would probably tell you that's not the point. In this Funny or Die parody, though, she has a somewhat different reaction. You've only got 24 hours left to laugh at MailKimp jokes, everybody.

SEEN in the Studio: Shirin Neshat

Stationed above a busy corner on Canal Street, the studio of the Iranian filmmaker and artist Shirin Neshat whirred with several working film editors and assistants upon our arrival. Neshat is best known for her black-and-white cinematic films addressing gender issues within Islamic culture. She shares the space with her partner Shoja Azari, a fellow filmmaker and frequent collaborator. Conversations in Farsi and Italian were shooting back and forth among the crew. “We are very lucky because our studio is like a community. We’re all close friends and we’re together all the time basically,” said Neshat.

Every Big Theater Chain Just Dropped The Interview

America's five biggest theater chains have all dropped The Interview from their lineups after a group of anonymous hackers threatened violence against any theater caught screening the film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment have all pulled the film, which was set to debut on Christmas Day; the movie's New York premiere, which was also threatened, was canceled on Tuesday. Though the hackers told Sony to "remember the 11th of September, 2001," the Department of Homeland Security insists there is "no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States."

The Toughest Scene I Wrote: Finding Obvious Child’s Perfect Fart/Cry Balance

Over the next few weeks, Vulture will speak to the screenwriters behind 2014's most acclaimed movies about the scenes they found most difficult to crack. Which pivotal sequences underwent the biggest transformations on their way from script to screen? Today Obvious Child director Gillian Robespierre and her co-writer Elisabeth Holm discuss the moment where Donna (Jenny Slate) finally confides a major secret to her mother. The scene is then excerpted below.

Gillian: This entire screenplay was tough to write! I was working a full-time job, as were my writing partners Elisabeth Holm and Karen Maine. So finding actual time to sit down and write was extremely difficult. But this article is not about how boring our lives were. Let’s talk about the bedroom scene!

Read the scene! »

Peter Coffin’s Studio Playlist

For an artist whose practice is predicated on the somewhat subversive, it's no surprise that Peter Coffin would stack a playlist with Miles Davis and Kraftwerk and Tonto's Expanding Headband. "I don't have anything interesting or quotable to say about the songs I sent,” he wrote, somewhat teasingly, "They inspire different moods." Coffins's works do, too — whether with his outdoor Cloud installations or oversize taxidermy animal sculptures or slow-motion videos. For those times when you don’t know where you want to go but want the journey to inspire you, listen up.

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The Interview Screenwriter Dan Sterling on Writing the Movie That Caused the Sony Hacks

"About a year ago today, I was on a soundstage and I was at the monitor watching Seth Rogen, who was completely naked except for a sock around his penis," says screenwriter Dan Sterling. A lot has changed for him since then. A movie based on his first produced screenplay is finally hitting theaters on Christmas Day. Which is great. That movie is The Interview. So there's that. John Horn, host of Southern California Public Radio's new daily arts and entertainment show "The Frame," talked to Sterling about The Interview and what it's been like to be behind the movie that resulted in the Sony hacks. (Listen to part of Horn and Sterling's interview below, and subscribe to "The Frame" at iTunes or Stitcher.)

"It never occurred to me that we would be allowed to use the real leader’s name." »

  • Posted 12/17/14 at 1:58 PM
  • Art

Living With Art: My Childhood Friendship With Saul Steinberg

It’s not easy nabbing the Nivola Brothers. Alessandro, who is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway with Bradley Cooper and Patricia Clarkson, is also busy filming the second season of the HBO comedy series Doll & Em with his wife, the actress Emily Mortimer. He also has two movies opening later this month: Selma and A Most Violent Year. His artist brother, Adrian, is preparing for a group show titled “Winter Salon” at the Drawing Room, open December 13 through February 28, 2015. But they generously made time to meet at Alessandro’s home in Brooklyn, where they described growing up in the fascinating world of their grandparents — artists Costantino and Ruth Nivola — and getting to know their grandparents’ legendary friends, which included artist Saul Steinberg and architect Le Corbusier. We sat down in Alessandro’s cozy living room, where Adrian, on the left, and Alessandro, on the right, started by talking about their grandfather’s work, the painting above the couch being one of Costantino Nivola’s.

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10 Terrible TV and Movie Detectives

Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice hit the big screen last weekend and tells the tale of a particularly crap (and perpetually stoned) gumshoe named Larry "Doc" Sportello who is roped into a missing-person case by his ex-girlfriend. Sportello’s clumsiness certainly isn’t unprecedented. Here's a look back at ten other hopeless movie and TV detectives whose methods of deduction could leave a game of Guess Who? permanently unwon.

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Jamie Dornan Took a Good, Long Shower After Visiting a Sex Dungeon

To fully immerse himself in the character of Christian Grey — the emotionally stunted sexual sadist with a heart of gold — Fifty Shades of Grey actor Jamie Dornan knew he needed to go balls-deep into the world of S&M. He tells Elle U.K. that his research for the role led him to the deep recesses of a real-life sex dungeon:

Read More  »

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