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  • Posted 2/27/15 at 6:44 PM

Secrets and Lies Is As Unoriginal As They Come

Good morning, America! It's time for Secrets and Lies. We begin with shots of a man running through the rain, bellowing in existential panic. Cut to a shot of a dead boy in a red slicker lying face up in muddy water, rain spattering his face. A child is dead! A poor innocent child! Suffer the innocent children of prime time. Also women, many of them prostitutes for some reason, found in fields or ditches, strangled or hacked up. But I digress.

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  • Posted 2/27/15 at 6:00 PM
  • Posters

Tyrion Stares Down a Dragon in Game of Thrones Season 5’s Poster

In a new poster teasing season five of Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister is at sea, gazing out at a giant dragon. Guess he's taking Varys's advice to seek out Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen. Our buddy comedy awaits. 

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 5:57 PM
  • Obits

President Obama Says He ‘Loved’ Spock in Touching Statement on the Death of Leonard Nimoy

President Obama has often drawn comparisons to Spock, so it's fitting that his statement on the passing of Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at age 83, is more personal than usual:

"Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

I loved Spock.

In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today."

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 4:55 PM
  • R.i.p.

20 Cool Things Leonard Nimoy Did Other Than Star Trek

Perhaps Leonard Nimoy will be best-remembered as Spock, Star Trek's kindhearted half-Vulcan. And that would probably be enough. But Nimoy was more than his pointed ears: He wrote poetry, directed films, appeared onstage, and sang Lord of the Rings parodies. The man contained multitudes, to put it mildly. Here is but a small sample:  

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  • Posted 2/27/15 at 4:48 PM

Eddie Redmayne As Transgender Pioneer Lili Elbe in His Upcoming The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne already won one Oscar for starring in a high-profile biopic as Stephen Hawking, so why not do another? Next he'll play Lili Elbe, who's known for being one of the first transgender women to undergo successful sex-reassignment surgery, in 2016's The Danish Girl. Of the film, Redmayne recently told The Daily Mail, "I think it's the most sensitive role I have played." See the first photo of Redmayne as Elbe below.

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 3:50 PM

Who Was the Better Tocqueville? Karl Ove Knausgaard, Bernard-Henri Lévy, or Stephen Fry?

When the newly revamped New York Times Magazine asked the famously prolix (but personally reticent) Karl Ove Knausgaard, the author of a 3,500-page confessional six-book series called My Struggle, to undertake a road trip through Canada and the U.S., it enlisted him in a noble tradition: the foreign writer grappling with America via that most American of journeys, the road trip. How does his long and divisive report, part one of which will appear in this Sunday’s print issue, compare to those of his predecessors? Below, we compare and contrast.

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  • Posted 2/27/15 at 3:25 PM
  • R.i.p.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, One of History’s Greatest TV Characters

Leonard Nimoy, who died today at 83, had a long, prodigious career as an actor, writer, and director. Despite all his other achievements, he will always be known as Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer of Star Trek's Enterprise, and that's what I want to focus on here, because the pointy-eared Starfleet officer was one of the great characters in TV history. He was killed off and then resuscitated, not just officially (in the second and third Star Trek films, then in J.J. Abrams reboots, where he appears as young Spock's grizzled future self) but symbolically, in the form of new Trek characters who at times seemed like prismatic shards of Spock, and who all grappled with feelings of otherness (Geordi La Forge, Worf, Data, Seven of Nine). 

Trek and Nimoy built Spock, the Vulcans, and their entire history out of bits and pieces of lived experience, which is why their world continues to exert such powerful fascination. »

Simpsons Showrunner Al Jean Remembers Leonard Nimoy

As any Simpsons superfan can tell you, there was no guest-star quite like the late Leonard Nimoy. The Star Trek legend made two extremely memorable appearances on the series, both as himself. The first was 1993's Conan O'Brienpenned "Marge vs. the Monorail," in which he was the guest of honor for the first ride of Springfield's monorail (and spent much of that ride boring the hell out of a fellow passenger who has zero interest in his Trek tales). He returned for 1997's "The Springfield Files," providing further delight by delivering a send-up of introductions to overwrought mystery shows. Longtime Simpsons writer and showrunner Al Jean got in touch with us today and gave us his thoughts and memories about working with Nimoy. Here's what he said, in full:

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TV Review: The Last Man on Earth Makes a Lasting Impression

Phil Miller (Will Forte) is the last man on Earth. He's heavily bearded, with a gleeful destructive streak and an aversion to personal hygiene. He drove around the country for years, looking for other surviving humans; he found none, and has come to Tucson to get drunk and break things, and maybe kill himself. I mean, why not, right? Let's throw bowling balls at aquariums and roll over beer cans with a steamroller. The opening act of the pilot is both catastrophically tragic and endearingly silly, demonstrating a kind of emotional dexterity that's rare in any story but especially in a half-hour comedy. Ambitious seems like such a cheesy critic word to use here, but I don't know what else to call it.

Beards, beards, and more beards. »

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 2:47 PM
  • Movies

The Lazarus Effect Is a Dopey Thriller That Wastes a Good Cast

Sort of a Flatliners for the sensitive indie-actor set, The Lazarus Effect is a grimy, dopey, confused thriller that wastes a very likable cast. The film takes place mostly in a Berkeley lab where a group of young medical researchers are developing an experimental new serum designed to prolong the neural activity of coma patients. The idea is “to give health care professionals more time to do their jobs” — because, of course, mad scientists who trample the laws of God always start off with the noblest of aims. From the film’s very first shot — video footage of a dead pig being given high-voltage doses of electricity — we know that these crazy kids are about to start bringing things back to life.

The Lazarus Effect is simultaneously too much and not enough. »

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 2:36 PM
  • Movies

Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green Make the Western The Salvation Worthwhile

I don’t know when the term revisionist Western came into widespread use, but it’s time we retired it. Even when it meant something, it was a bit of an overstatement; most of the great Westerns bucked convention in one way or another. But starting around the 1960s, it seemed like every entry in the genre pointedly tried to rewrite our collective dream of the West. The unmaking-of-a-myth in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, or the heightened violence in The Wild Bunch, or the anti-romance in McCabe & Mrs. Miller, or the ugliness of justice in Unforgiven — they all told us, “It’s not like you thought it was. It’s not what the movies have told you.”

There’s nothing surprising about The Salvation, which is the most surprising thing about it. »

Leonard Nimoy Explains Spock’s Secret Jewish Origins

Spock may have been half-human and half-Vulcan, but Leonard Nimoy was all Jew. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, and they raised him in the Orthodox tradition — and that meant regular visits to his local synagogue in the Boston area. When he was a boy, he had a particularly profound experience during one such visit: At a point in the service when he was supposed to cover his eyes, he peeked out and saw some men performing a prayer that included a hand gesture that is familiar to geeks everywhere as the Vulcan Salute. A few years ago, Nimoy recounted the whole story to the Wexler Oral History project, and it's well worth a watch. We're saying a mourner's kaddish for you, Leonard.

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 12:33 PM
  • Obits

Leonard Nimoy Dead at 83

Leonard Nimoy, star of Star Trek, has died at age 83, reports the New York Times. The actor was recently hospitalized for severe chest pains and died at his home in Bel Air Friday morning, according to his wife, from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a disease he previously attributed to years of smoking.

Nimoy famously portrayed the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock in the Star Trek series who popularized the phrase "live long and prosper." He also reprised the role in 2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness.

Archer Recap: Mashed-Potato Party

The Story
Lana takes Archer to Berkeley, California, to re-meet her parents, and to help introduce them to AJ. Archer puts on his best behavior for as long as he can before burglars break into the Kanes' beautiful Bay Area Craftsman home and steal something precious from Lana's parents (voiced by Keith David and C.C.H. Pounder). Malory and Milton are off minding their own business, while the rest of the team, on their way to bowling night, becomes stranded in a city they're unfamiliar with. You could say a recurring motif in this episode is cars.

Who remembers Bullitt? Archer does, obviously. »

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 12:00 PM
  • Quiz

Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Outfit or a Blanket? A Quiz

This quiz originally ran in May 2013. We are rerunning it with the release of Focus this weekend.

Twenty-fuve years ago, a young Will Smith first sat down on his throne as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Then and now, one of the show's best elements was the clothing. In every episode, Will would have a new fly, incredibly colorful, pattern-rich outfit. That aesthetic has worked its way into the culture's collective unconscious and now appears in the most unexpected places. Like on blankets! Blankets? Blankets! Blankets nowadays, especially "funky" ones, look like they were designed as togas for a giant Fresh Prince. They're so similar that we think you'll have a hard time telling the two apart. So chill out, max, relax all cool, and see if you can tell the difference between the pattern of a Fresh Prince outfit and that of a blanket.

Iggy Azalea Gets Arrested (!) in Her Very Bonnie and Clyde–Inspired New Video

Iggy Azalea isn't exactly known for her originality. But at least in the video for "Trouble" — which stars Iggy as Bonnie to her lover's Clyde, and Jennifer Hudson as the cop who eventually puts her in handcuffs — she's borrowing from some of the best.

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 11:53 AM

Why You Can’t Stream Björk’s New Album on Spotify

Last month Björk surprise-released her new album, Vulnicura, after it leaked online two months ahead of schedule. If you've gone to look for it on Spotify since then with no luck, Björk is now explaining why. In a new interview with Fast Company, she warns fans not to expect the album to turn up on the streaming service anytime soon. "A few months ago I emailed my manager and said, 'Guess what? This streaming thing just does not feel right. I don’t know why, but it just seems insane,'" she says. "To work on something for two or three years and then just, Oh, here it is for free. It’s not about the money; it’s about respect, you know? Respect for the craft and the amount of work you put into it."

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Jack O’Connell Suffers (Again) and Shines in Northern Ireland Thriller ’71

In the last three films I’ve seen him in, Jack O’Connell has physically suffered so much onscreen that I think he’s accidentally atoned for humanity’s sins. The 25-year-old actor, who ably held together Angelina Jolie’s WWII epic Unbroken and David Mackenzie’s intense prison drama Starred Up, is now at the center of Yann Demange’s brutal ’71, and once again he experiences the tortures of the damned. Luckily, he’s riveting in the role: The film, about a novice British soldier cut off from his unit during a riot in Belfast, is less about words and more about the varieties of terror in a young man’s eyes. 

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Pussy Riot Speak Out Against Russia’s President (Again) on House of Cards

A major plotline in House of Cards' third season, which premieres today on Netflix, involves Frank Underwood's tense relationship with the fictional Russian president, Victor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen). In the third episode, "Chapter 29," Petrov attends a state dinner at the White House, where he gives a speech that's interrupted by Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina (whose real-life protests in Russia landed them in prison). Watch their heated standoff below.

What Video Game Is Frank Underwood Playing on House of Cards?

Some things just never change. Even as president of the U.S., Frank Underwood still finds time to be a total gamer. Imagine if he had his own YouTube channel! In season three's fifth episode, "Chapter 31," he's graduated from playing Call of Duty to Monument Valley (for reasons we discover later).

Monument Valley is an indie game about a princess and optical illusions — which is totally what comes to mind when we think of Frank Underwood.

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