Cards on the table: Will Smith says "boobs" fairly early in this new Focus trailer and something about that moment stuck with us. He says it weird, right? Like when you're 13 and you're just learning how to curse like an adult, and each time you try it the words don't really come out right, like they spill out of your mouth too hard and not at all casual like you'd hoped. That's Will Smith saying the word boobs in this trailer. But aside from that one moment, this is a good trailer. Very jazzy!
After weeks of rumors, The Good Wife's Mike Colter has indeed signed on to play Marvel superhero Luke Cage in Netflix's upcoming Jessica Jones series. He'll be the love interest there before eventually headlining a series of his own; when that's up, Cage will join Jones and Daredevil in a Defenders miniseries. (Marvel: Where even the spinoffs have their own spinoffs!) Krysten Ritter was reportedly cast as Jones due to her chemistry with Colter, so it's probably good for everyone that this deal went through.
Vampires must never live alone. And in New York they don’t. A visible river of imagination, inspiration and vision has long coursed through our city, sustaining, feeding, and feeding off of artists. Artists staying up late together, working alone, in groups, or away from prying eyes. All living interior lives in our midst. From the earliest days of America to today New York has been an extraordinary creative estuary where tens of thousands of artists have lived and worked, struggled and made art here. Some of them are known, most are not. No matter - all had lives lived in art. I often think that we ought to honor our artists by placing plaques on the buildings in which they lived or worked or gathered. These would be silent witnesses to something epic, a creative miracle of almost never ending talent happening all around us all the time. With the amazing database of painter-mapmaker extraordinaire Loren Munk we pay a little tribute to a small number of them here.
The first trailer for Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea emphasized the mystery and majesty of the open ocean — a fine angle, sure, but when you cast Chris Hemsworth in your sailing movie, you don't do it to see him give lengthy philosophical monologues. You cast Chris Hemsworth in your sailing movie so that, when it comes time for our seafaring heroes to go toe-to-fin with an angry whale, you think they might actually have a chance. If you've read the book this movie's based on [spoiler alert], you know they really don't, but nothing wrong with giving people a little bit of optimism before all the shipwrecks and starvation.
D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s new album Black Messiah, released to the surprise of almost everyone a week ago, isn’t supposed to be about sex. Its release was bumped up, after all, in response to protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and other unarmed African-American men. And yet it is a very sexy album. Just listen to it. As Ava Tunnicliffe wrote in Nylon, “If there was only one word to describe the album, it would be sexy. In three words, it's really, really sexy.” This has become something of a consensus position since the album fell from the sexy, sexy heavens, at least if numerous tweets like this one are any indication:
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.
While Friends is a bona fide ensemble show in which any given main character is as significant as the next, not every two is on equal footing: Joey and Chandler as a pair are a lot more present than, say, Joey and Monica, who have a lot less in common. (Food and Chandler, mostly?) Let us now set aside romantic couplings for a moment and turn our attention to the platonic duos. Which pairing is the best? An examination:
Are you curious why everyone's calling Saul "Jimmy" in this new promo for Better Call Saul? It's because the series takes place in 2002, when Saul was going by the name James M. McGill. Also, while this promo does a good job of expressing the show's planned 85-15 drama-comedy ratio, it does a bad job of representing the year 2002. Not one Ja Rule song!
Draco Malfoy is rich, blond, and probably looks great in leather pants — who wouldn't want to snog him? J.K. Rowling, that's who. In her latest Pottermore update, Rowling writes how she's often forced to crush the dreams of fans who nurse strange feelings for Hogwarts's sexiest Slytherin. "Draco remains a person of dubious morality in the seven published books, and I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character," she writes. "All this has left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers' daydreams, as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering and prejudice and that no, he and Harry were not destined to end up best friends." Rowling does note, however, that in later life, Draco did become less of a sniveling little shit, embracing a "more tolerant life view" and raising his son to be "much kinder ... than he was in his own youth." Rowling leaves unsaid whether he succeeds in this mission, or if child-rearing is just one more thing that Draco messes up.
In an essay for Vulture, Anika Pyle, front woman of the Brooklyn band Chumped, called 2014 “the year that women tore down the punk-boy clubhouse and erected a big middle finger in its place.” She’s not wrong. 2014 felt like a banner year for women in punk, a genre that has always prided itself on progressive politics and open-mindedness but has often felt closed off to female musicians. Prominent exceptions to the rule like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney bear a strange burden; they’re the token names trotted out when a music critic has to make sense of a female-led punk band — whether they sound anything like those bands or not. So what’s exciting about the current crop of female-driven punk bands is not just their abundance but the sheer sonic diversity. From the primal fury of White Lung to the singsongy sass of Slutever to the artful experimentations of Perfect Pussy, these artists prove that there is no singular “female punk” sound — there are many. Below, I’ve gathered some of the year’s best.
Mark down 2014 as the year that women tore down the punk-boy clubhouse and erected a big middle finger in its place. Scrutinize year-end lists and you’ll find an unprecedented number of lady-fronted punk and indie bands. I’m honored to be in the company of bands like Ex Hex and Perfect Pussy on Vulture's list of the best albums of 2014. Beyond that, look around at other lists and you'll also see names like Cayetana, Speedy Ortiz, and especially, White Lung, whose third LP Deep Fantasy took 2014 by storm and demonstrated the power and diversity of contemporary punk music. Also, this year we saw the return of iconic bands like the Muffs and Sleater-Kinney, who released music in 2014 for the first time in years. And there is Against Me!, who put out one of the most important records of the century, Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Against Me! was a male-fronted band that I fell in love with as a kid; now they're a world-storming, woman-fronted punk band of epic proportions. This alone could make 2014 the most important year for punk.
Singer Joe Cocker has died at the age of 70, the Yorkshire Post reports. The Sheffield-born singer died at his home in Colorado, where he had been quietly battling lung cancer for years. In the U.S., Cocker was most famous for his cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," as well as the shambling dance steps that inspired a Saturday Night Live parody from John Belushi. Cocker also had top-ten hits with "The Letter," "You Are So Beautiful," and "Up Where We Belong," a duet from the film An Officer and a Gentleman that won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
It makes total sense that J.K Rowling would choose to release more Harry Potter tales over the Christmas season, considering her original stories are by far the most festive of this era's popular young-adult fantasy series. (You don’t see Katniss popping on a Santa hat, do you?) The wizarding world is not only obsessed with the festive merriment of the holidays — possibly to make up for the fact that poor, orphaned Harry had so many disappointing Christmases before arriving at Hogwarts — but that time of year is also often the setting for major plot events. It's Christmas Day when Harry sees his parents in the Mirror of Erised in the Sorcerer’s Stone, when Hermione successfully brews Polyjuice Potion in Chamber of Secrets, when Harry overhears Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy’s chat about Voldemort outside Professor Slughorn’s holiday party in Half-Blood Prince, and when everyone suddenly discovered teenage angst at the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire.
Homeland went to great lengths this season to "prove" that it was still good. Many, many people, some of whom I treasure and respect, agreed — Homeland pulled off the rare TV turnaround, boldly killing off characters and reestablishing the show's espionage-thriller credentials. I found some of the plot mechanics exciting and competent, but Homeland absolutely lost me on its characters. Why are we still talking about Carrie and Saul when all we're going to see is their characters doing the same old thing again? Back into the field they'll go, shouting in danky rooms, their faces illuminated only by monitors; Carrie will discretely cover her hair and make furtive dashes through crowded public areas; Saul will bitterly chuckle while an enemy asks for a favor and even more bitterly chuckle when he asks an enemy for one in return. Last night's finale more or less promised another season of that, with Quinn's danger-hunk return to Syria, but what it also did was highlight everything Homeland stopped being, all the things Homeland isn't good at anymore. Homeland may still be good at shock-and-violence political stories. Too bad it has apparently given up completely on compelling domestic stories.
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, Vulture spoke to Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, who co-wrote Love Is Strange (which Sachs directed). The scene they chose is then excerpted below.
Our film is about an older couple, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), who have been living together for almost 40 years, who are forced to live apart due to circumstances beyond their control. The toughest scene for us to write was one that occurs late in the movie, when the two men are reunited for the first time after weeks of living separately. On a rainy night, George arrives at Ben's door to tell him he’s sorry, to give him a hug, to feel his husband’s warmth, and to share the grief. As soon as he sees Ben's face, George can’t hold it in any longer and he has a good cry, in front of Ben's family. It's clear he’s not going to return that night to the couch he had been sleeping on; instead, he’s going to spend the night sharing a bunk bed with Ben in his nephew Joey’s bedroom.
A new woman is accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, claiming the comedian raped her in his Detroit hotel room in the 1970s. Kathy McKee claims she met Cosby in the late 1960s, when she was dating Sammy Davis Jr. McKee had appeared on The Bill Cosby Show and regularly hung out in the same showbiz circles as the comedian. "He was a buddy," she tells the Daily News. "He knew I was Sammy's girl." McKee claims the alleged assault took place in 1971, after she and Cosby had known each other for eight years. She says Cosby invited her to a boat party and told her to stop by his hotel room with some ribs beforehand. Once she got there, she says, Cosby was "like a different person": He greeted her in just a robe, took the ribs, and immediately began raping her. "It was so fast and so shocking and so unbelievable," she told the Daily News. McKee says she racked with guilt over the incident, and never told Davis: "I figured, If I don't think about it, it won't bother me. Of course, with all these women surfacing now, it flushed out."
When they're not complaining about video-game journalism or trading celebrity nudes, the grumbling internet hordes at 4chan love doing pranks about North Korea. Four years after trying to send Justin Bieber to Pyongyang, 4chan users are now trying to troll North Korea itself by spamming the IMDb page for The Interview with perfect 10/10 ratings. As a result, the film now has an IMDb rating of 9.9, an impossible feat for something that's not a Christopher Nolan film or an episode of Breaking Bad. (The change hasn't been reflected in IMDb's Top 250, which presumably has algorithmic safeguards against this type of thing.) It's a stunning betrayal for Kim Jong-un, as he was the world leader most likely to be on 4chan.
In 2014, running a traditional TV network — broadcast or cable — was mostly about managing decline. Audiences continued to abandon watching live broadcasts in favor of on-demand options such as DVR replays and streaming. Even when networks thought they’d found a hit, viewers proved more impatient than ever — loving a show one season and then moving on the next (sorry, Sleepy Hollow, Duck Dynasty, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). And yet, while the central narrative of linear television remains gloomy, some individual networks nonetheless managed to grind out victories in the day-to-day battle for viewers. These four programming strategies were 2014’s most successful:
It's like sitting on the porch, drinking a Bud with 50,000 of your closest friends. Oh, and Garth Brooks. The Justin Timberlake show in Nashville on Friday felt like all of these things when Garth showed up in all his normcore splendor to sing "Friends in Low Places," and naturally, the entire arena sang along. Have you ever seen Timberlake so gleeful?