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ABC Has Canceled Manhattan Love Story

ABC’s Manhattan Love Story is no more: The network has canceled the little-seen romantic comedy, the first freshman casualty of the new fall season. Production on the 8:30 p.m. Tuesday show has halted, and no more episodes will air. A previously scheduled Halloween special will air in place of MLS next week, and then, starting November 4, ABC says it will fill the now-dead show’s slot with a second helping of fellow freshman Selfie. MLS debuted to a modest 4.7 million viewers and then continued to bleed viewers each of the four weeks it aired, attracting just 2.6 million this week. (It also got virtually no bump from time-shifting, a sign viewers either had no interest in it or, just as likely, no idea it even existed.) Finally, critics were also harsh on MLS, with Vulture’s Margaret Lyons urging viewers to “run” from the show.

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 5:24 PM

Marina Abramovic Is Still in the Dark

With a glint in her eye and and an inviting tone in her voice, a woman next to me as we exited Marina Abramovic's latest outing at Sean Kelly Gallery asked, "Was it you who just felt me up? It was so nice." I looked at her, and then at her chest. We locked eyes. For an instant, I wanted to say "Yes, I will yes." Then — remembering that my vibe has never produced these sorts of encounters — I said, "I wish it'd been me, but it wasn't." And just like that, I snapped back from a dreamy life that never was to what I'd been thinking the instant before. Which was that the piece had been mumbo-jumbo, nothing more.

"She's a New Age psychoanalyst." »

The Edward Snowden Documentary Citizenfour Puts You Right in the Room As History Is Made

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that Laura Poitras’s "Meet Edward Snowden" documentary Citizenfour was an avant-garde paranoid conspiracy thriller. Hold on, it is an avant-garde paranoid conspiracy thriller. It opens with a blurry tunnel; winking monitors scrolling metadata plucked from Americans’ emails; images of huge, futuristic, otherworldy government surveillance centers; encrypted communications — flurries of characters — that resolve into edgy cyberdialogues between the National Security Agency whistleblower and the filmmaker; and, finally, exacting exchanges between Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald high up in a blankly modern Hong Kong hotel, which might or might not be bugged. The music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is like malignantly buzzing wires that eat into your cerebral cortex.

The narrative is relatively straightforward. »

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 4:45 PM

A Look Back at David Redfern’s Classic Beatles Photographs

David Redfern — the prolific music photographer who captured snapshots of such monumental artists as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, and Nina Simone, among others — has died at the age of 78. NME reports that Redfern, who had cancer, died at his home in France. Throughout a career that began in the '60s, Redfern became an industry fixture, shooting musicians at jazz clubs and on TV shows. On the latter, Redfern snapped many of his now-classic pictures of the Beatles from shows like Thank Your Lucky Stars. In remembrance of the photographer, here are 11 of his shots of the Beatles, taken between 1963 and 1967, in the U.K.

John Hawkes Is Quietly Marvelous in Low Down

A.J. (Amy-Jo) Albany’s memoir Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood is a tender, spiky, beautifully evocative series of linked vignettes about her cruelly impoverished childhood as the daughter of a brilliant jazz pianist and junkie, Joe Albany, and a mean, self-centered mother (once the lover of Allen Ginsberg before he turned conclusively gay) who left them early and slid into terminal alcoholism. Amy and Topper Lilien have turned the book into a movie directed by Jeff Preiss, best known as the cinematographer of Bruce Weber’s extraordinary documentaries Broken Noses and Let’s Get Lost. Preiss brings a moody, lingering, be-bop touch to material that would be better in places with more zip, but if the film’s not as entertaining as the book, it’s pretty damn good, anyway. It has an immersive mood — a dim, junk-infused gloom from which there’s almost no escape. But then comes the music — underscored by Amy-Jo’s fierce love for her father and grandmother — and suddenly, that dimness is pierced by rays of hope.

Elle Fanning is Amy-Jo from 13 to somewhere around 16, rendered onscreen as a modest, self-effacing girl whose faith in her dad (John Hawkes) often wavers but somehow comes back even stronger. »

World Clown Association President Speaks Out Against Scary Clowns

The clown community has a bit of a PR problem right now. First there was a freaky-deaky clown harassing people in a small California town. Then American Horror Story: Freak Show returned and brought with it a nightmarish clown. Halloween season is always a metaphorical tiny car surprisingly full of literal scary clowns, and there’s the ongoing problem of the Insane Clown Posse. 

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Did Taylor Swift Rip Off Lorde and Lana Del Rey?

Much — too much? — has been made about the late-'80s influence on Taylor Swift's self-proclaimed first pure pop album 1989, but on my first few listens, I detect two more modern shadows looming large: those of current pop-paradigm-shifters Lorde and Lana Del Rey. Taylor's current award-show bestie/recreational-cooking classmate Lorde is a more fitting influence here: I hear her moody, electro-minimalist vibe all over 1989's last two songs, the driving, is-this-seriously-not-on-the-Mockingjay-soundtrack "I Know Places," and the muted breakup song "Clean." Then there's the (first impression: awesome) second track, "Blank Space," which is a good deal peppier than anything on Pure Heroine but has a rhythm that reminds me so much of its lead-off track "Team" that I find myself wanting to add a "... you can watch from your window" at the end of every verse.

"Wildest Dreams" sounds like it was strung together from phrases sputtered out by a Lana Del Rey Twitter bot. »

The Swedish Drama Force Majeure Is a Quiet Avalanche

Note: In order to discuss the Alps-set Swedish drama Force Majeure in any depth, it is necessary to reveal a very early event on which the entire narrative hinges. If you believe — wrongly, I think, but it’s your call — that this constitutes a “spoiler” and are merely looking for a thumb up or down, then here is the pertinent judgment: Thumb up, three stars, B+, 89 ... Actually, 93 until the climax, which is somewhat opaque. The setting is breathtaking, the cast excellent — and attractive! Back to Rotten Tomatoes, then.

The chic but potent psychodrama Force Majeure centers on a split-second decision. »

White Bird in a Blizzard, Starring Shailene Woodley, Is an Evocative, Occasionally Maddening Film

“I was 17 when my mother disappeared,” Kat Connor (Shailene Woodley) tells us in the opening narration of White Bird in a Blizzard. “Just as I was becoming nothing but my body — flesh and blood and raging hormones — she stepped out of hers and left it behind.” It’s a poetic yet somewhat simplistic comparison, and it captures the conflicting impulses in Gregg Araki’s evocative, gorgeous, occasionally maddening film.

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3 Reasons Why TLC Ditched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo So Quickly

Well, that was quick: Barely 24 hours after TMZ published a photo of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo matriarch Mama June Shannon with a convicted child molester, TLC has decided it's better to no longer redneckognize its spinoff of Toddlers and Tiaras. The network has shelved the upcoming third season of the show (even though the episodes had already been filmed) and says it has no plans to even air reruns of the show. It’s a dramatic development, and a decision TLC executives probably didn’t make lightly. “There’s a whole season that had been shot. You don’t walk away from that unless you’re really concerned,” one reality TV veteran told Vulture Friday. So why did TLC move with such speed and seeming finality? Three reasons immediately come to mind:

Better to be safe than sorry. »

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 2:15 PM
  • Leaks

Blame France for Leaking Taylor Swift’s New Album

Whether you like it or not, the new Taylor Swift album is out there. Whether you've seen it via a Zippyshare.com link containing a file called "albumsgonnaleakleakleakleakleak.rar" (Seriously, that's what the leaker called it!) or perhaps secondhand through individual Dropboxes — an array of inside-joke-named folders purposefully conspicuous in their track-naming. But to look a little further, it's the track names (and number of tracks) that seem to point toward where this leak might've come from.

If you downloaded the original leak, you'll see that song titles are missing and in their place there are a slew of numbered "pistes." »

A Horrorphobe Is Forced to Watch His First Scary Movie: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

This essay originally ran October 30, 2013. We are republishing it as part of Vulture's Horror Week.

I am 28 years and 5 months old, and I went exactly that long without ever seeing an entire horror movie. On Monday, my streak ended, after my editor forced me to watch the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre at home, at night, with the sound up and the lights out. This was a terrible idea. 

Why he has never watched one and what it was like when he did. »

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 1:45 PM
  • Video

Watch Shailene Woodley Seduce a Much Older Man

In Gregg Araki’s new film White Bird in a Blizzard, Shailene Woodley plays Kat, a suburban 17-year-old who’s adrift after her mom (a tightly wound Eva Green) goes missing. Kat’s dad (Christopher Meloni) shuts down emotionally, Kat’s boyfriend (Shiloh Fernandez) grows physically distant, Kat’s friends (Gabourey Sidibe and Mark Indelicato) are already looking ahead to college, and as for Kat herself … well, now that she’s on her own with no parental oversight, she’s testing her own boundaries. That mission of self-discovery includes some sexual exploration that may shock audiences who only know Woodley from the PG-13 The Fault in Our Stars, as Kat sets her sights on the much older detective (Thomas Jane) investigating her mother’s case, then heads to his apartment to tentatively seduce him. You can see how that goes in this exclusive clip from the movie, out in theaters today.

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 1:43 PM
  • Music

Some Snap Judgments on Taylor Swift’s 1989

Taylor Swift is calling 1989 her first official pop album, and like all pop albums do (except for one), it's leaked ahead of its official release. Here's a quick rundown of what you can look forward to. Good news: What you haven't heard just yet is sounding a lot better than what you have.

In context, "Welcome to New York" is not actually the worst song of Swift's career. »

One Direction Put Danny DeVito in Their New Music Video

One Direction's "Steal My Girl" music video has everything: Maasai tribesmen, sumo wrestlers, that thing where a bunch of people dance silly around professional ballerinas. (Also seen in another recent music video.) But most importantly, it has Danny DeVito playing an eccentric music-video director. This is his best musical performance since "The Troll Toll."

  • Posted 10/24/14 at 1:15 PM
  • Tv

Neil Marshall on Directing Constantine and Figuring Out New Ways to Kill People on Game of Thrones

Violence dominates director Neil Marshall's work, from his 2002 werewolf action film Dog Soldiers to his battle-centric Game of Thrones episode "Watchers on the Wall" from earlier this year, the latter of which earned Marshall an Emmy nomination. Marshall grew up in Northern England, reveling in hyperviolent horror films that were banned during the U.K.'s Video Nasties scare of the mid-1980s. Now 44, he's gone on to helm The Descent, one of the most viscerally disturbing horror films of recent memory, and the pilot episode of Constantine, a dark, supernatural drama based on DC Comics' Hellblazer series. Vulture talked to Marshall about decapitations, ex–Sex Pistol John Lydon, and taboo VHS tapes.

Read More  »

Savage Garden, Mase, and Third Eye Blind: Dave Holmes on the Songs of January 1998

She’s on Twitter! Monica Lewinsky is finally on Twitter! So far, she has only tweeted eleven words, five of which were hashtags about gratitude, but I’m keeping my eye on this one. Who knows what she might say? As we follow and wait for more of her wisdom, let’s put on something that reveals our navels and drive my DeLorean GIF back to the week Linda Tripp pitched the shit right at the fan; here are the Billboard Top 40 Singles from the week of January 24, 1998. (I’m already out of things to say about Monica Lewinsky.) 

"Usher’s big breakthrough video, in which he shows more midriff than Total, Allure, and Destiny’s Child, combined." »

Ouija Is Confident, Meat-and-Potatoes Horror

There’s an old story about screenwriter Charles MacArthur asking Charlie Chaplin how he’d show a woman slipping on a banana peel. Chaplin said he’d show her stepping over the banana peel, then disappearing into the manhole on the other side. That story flashed through my mind a couple of times during Ouija, which at times enacts the horror-movie equivalent of Chaplin’s comedy gag. It builds to a jump scare and distracts us with what we think was the big, sudden jump reveal — and then it pounces. When it works, it’s a wonderful, elemental thing. I’m not going to lie: I actually cackled with terror and delight at a couple of moments.

The story is absurdly simple. »

Here’s Another New Taylor Swift Song, ‘Blank Space’

So maybe, in one way or another, you have found yourself listening to the Taylor Swift album today? Anyway, here's one of the new songs that just found its way to YouTube (until it gets pulled, anyway). "Darling, I'm a nightmare / dressed like a daydream" is the spoken-word Taylor we know and love.

Cartoonist Garry Trudeau on Season 2 of Alpha House and Binge-Watching

Did Garry Trudeau feel the need to change anything for season two of his Capitol Hill satire Alpha House, all ten episode of which roll out on Amazon Prime today? “We just tried to do it better,” the Doonesbury cartoonist tells Vulture of the series, which stars John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson, and Matt Malloy as a quartet of GOP congressmen sharing a D.C. townhouse. “We tried to make the stories faster, funnier, and edgier — all that good stuff.”

"Smarter people than I at Amazon have determined that binge-watching is the way to go." »

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