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Red Band Society Recap: Punch Me In the Morning

Red Band Society, as a whole, mainly gets by on a) the strength of Octavia Spencer's performance, b) the likeability of the teenage performers and c) the inherent drama of having a bunch of sick kids waiting around, hoping to get better, knowing they might not. 

It's main drawbacks, at the moment, are a) a tendency towards gimmicks for gimmicks' sake (I don't mind coma boy as a narrative thread and I guess I'm alright with everyone visiting him in their dream state, but the idea of him as all-seeing narrator just doesn't work), b) heavy-handed writing that makes sure you always Understand What The Scene Is About (I'm sure the thinking here is that shows about teenagers tend to mostly attract teenage viewers, but it's really condescending to assume kids can't figure out subtext and themes on their own) and c) all the adult characters besides Nurse Jackson badly need personalities besides "sexy nurses and doctors that look sexy and care about kids while looking sexy."

The first two problems were well on display in last night's episode. »

Australian Horror Movie The Babadook Is In the Running For My Favorite Movie Of the Year

In the running with Boyhood as my favorite movie of 2014 is another work that turns on the challenges of parenting. This one is a tad more insane. It’s Jennifer Kent’s phenomenally scary Australian chiller The Babadook.

This is Kent’s first feature—an astonishing debut. »

The ‘Serial’ Podcast Is Getting a Second Season

Thanks to the donations of many eager listeners, "Serial" will get a second season. Who knows what it will be about? It may be another mystery. It may not be a mystery at all! The greatest mystery is when it might air, which producers don't know yet. "Serial" is off for Thanksgiving this week. Let's all take an informal poll and see how many relatives are listening.

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 2:30 PM
  • Movies

Director John Boorman on Young Christopher Walken, Lord Of the Rings, and Violence in Film

If the movies of Irish filmmaker John Boorman have a common theme, it's their shared interest in the restorative value of violence. That central theme, of finding rebirth from the ashes of destruction, isn't easy to swallow, but it's at the heart of many of Boorman's most notable films, including Point Blank, Deliverance, Hell in the Pacific, and even Exorcist II: The Heretic. Boorman was honored at MoMA recently with special screenings of two of his most radical films: Leo the Last, a comic allegory about class warfare starring Marcello Mastroianni; and Excalibur, Boorman's spectacular reimagining of the Arthurian legend. Vulture talked to Boorman about his science-fiction film Zardoz, young Christopher Walken, and Lord of the Rings.

"Zardoz lovers would sometimes rent a bus and go to some outlying place to watch [the film]." »

Let’s Take Bets on Who Will Die on Parenthood

With Parenthood on hiatus until next year, you still have plenty of time to set up your betting pool on who will (as promised!) be kicking the bucket. All signs seem to be pointing toward Zeek, who, at the end of the last episode (SPOILER!), asked that Camille call an ambulance. But maybe the writers of Parenthood are planning a little twist? Here are your odds. Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.

Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter): 100:1 »

Will Arnett, John Mayer Among the Many Men Asked to Guest-Host The Late Late Show

Will Arnett, Judd Apatow, John Mayer, Thomas Lennon, Wayne Brady, and The Big Bang Theory regular Kunal Nayyar are among the men who will take turns guest-hosting CBS’s The Late Late Show this winter during the two-month gap between Craig Ferguson’s departure and James Corden’s arrival as his replacement. And yes, at least as of now, they’re all dudes: The list of ten Late Late Show guest hosts announced by the Eye network Wednesday includes no women.

Read More  »

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 2:04 PM
  • Tv

What the Hell Is Going On in This Game of Thrones Teaser?

While you were schlepping on a train to your mother's house yesterday afternoon, HBO released this very mysterious teaser for Game of Thrones season five. It's ten seconds of footage we've already seen of Arya being a badass, narrated by Melisandre saying, "I see a darkness in you." It ends with a link to www.threeeyedraven.com, where fans can sign up to receive "visions of the future." Maybe it's a reminder that Bran now has the sight and will be filling us in with those rumored flashbacks? Maybe Arya has the power of sight now, too? Or maybe it's just a promo for the European leg of Hodor's DJ tour.

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 2:00 PM
  • Movies

PSA: The BAM Sunshine Noir Fest Is This Weekend, Sounds Awesome

When you think of noir, you probably think of darkness: the shadowed alleyways, the mean city at midnight, the gunshots that sound unseen just outside the spill of the street lamp. But there’s a sun-bleached counter-narrative in noir — actually, it’s arguably the main narrative, once you consider that Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stalked the streets of Los Angeles, The Maltese Falcon takes place in San Francisco, and James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice unfolds in rural California. Noir itself was largely a counter-narrative, of course, and not primarily to the starchy history of the tradition-choked East Coast. So much classic noir, instead, is about the underbelly of the American frontier — which, in the 20th century, meant California. It’s the dark side of the sunny side, as it were.

Chinatown! The Long Goodbye! Jackie Brown! Inherent Vice! »

Take a Look at the Criterion Collection’s New Cover Art Coffee Table Book

"When people come to visit the Criterion Collection, their first stop is often the art department," writes Criterion Collection president Peter Becker in the introduction to the film company's new coffee table book, Criterion Designs. "We have a white wall covered with metallic paint and magnets where we put up the latest iterations of the cover designs we’re working on. It’s right in the heart of the office, and it is where we end up having many of our most important conversations about movies." Cover art and design for Criterion releases have become such a meme that there are several blogs devoted to mocking up fake Criterion art. Criterion Designs has hundreds of alternate sketches and final designs for cinephiles to browse through. Here are three movies: Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, On the Waterfront, and House.

These Are the Movies Expiring From Netflix on December 1

Move that Thanksgiving feast to the couch, because you have a lot of Netflix-watching to do before December 1, when these movies will disappear from the streaming service. (But given how Netflix has worked in the past, they may be back at some point in the future.) Here they are, in alphabetical order, though if you only have a limited amount of time, can we steer you toward Spice World? No? Well, take your pick.

Read More  »

18 Movies to See (or Not to See) This Thanksgiving

The holiday season kicks into full gear tomorrow with Thanksgiving. That means food, family, and awkward conversations about why you haven't visited your cousins in so long. So why not avoid talk altogether and go to the movies? Here’s a list of which films are out now and what our critics have said about them.

Read More  »

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 12:30 PM
  • Casting

Ridley Scott Explains Exodus’s Whitewashing

Ridley Scott's upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings has an awfully white cast for a movie set in ancient Egypt: Christian Bale plays Moses, Joel Edgerton plays Ramses, Aaron Paul plays Joshua, and Sigourney Weaver plays Tuya. But Scott says he has a perfectly good explanation for the whitewashing. "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such," the director tells Variety. "I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up." Well, there you have it. Better luck next time, all actors who were apparently never even considered.

Jerry Seinfeld Talks to YouTube Star Colleen Ballinger About Why the Internet Is Better Than TV

Jerry Seinfeld first heard of comedian Colleen Ballinger when his 13-year-old daughter Sascha suggested he watch a YouTube video of Ballinger's obnoxious, tone-deaf, spiteful persona Miranda Sings. He was instantly impressed by her ability to make both him and his daughter laugh. As a result, he invited Ballinger to appear on his web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in character as Miranda. The episode, which the pair shot in October, debuts tomorrow. (Watch a trailer for the episode here.) Earlier this week, Vulture spoke with Seinfeld and Ballinger to get the scoop on their surprising and intriguing partnership and learned why Seinfeld insists TV is a “small” medium.

"TV is too small. Take it from me: I was there when TV ended." »

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 12:10 PM
  • Art

Sorry, People: Here’s the Real List of Sexiest Male Artists

After People magazine recently awarded photographer Javier Gomez as 2014’s Sexiest Artist Alive, we here at SEEN collectively scratched our heads and muttered, “Who?!” Google informs us that he’s a 34-year old fine-art photographer based in New York, but we’re unconvinced that Gomez, who seems like a lovely person, is actually all that sexy, creatively speaking. 

Read More  »

Two New York Heroes Voted for Taylor Swift for Governor

Exactly two New Yorkers voted for Taylor Swift for governor in this year's election, and I'm pretty sure it was me and the cat I dressed up as a human so he could go with me to vote for Taylor Swift. Other strange write-ins included votes for Derek Jeter, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, and House of Cards character Frank Underwood. No write-ins for subway condom guy? This city is becoming so bland.

A Brief History of the Food Coma in Art

There’s a very good reason gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Eating and drinking are two of life’s greatest pleasures — our only problem seems to be not knowing when to stop. Of course, Thanksgiving wasn't the first event in history that caused the unbutton-your-pants-at-the-table move (or, in the case of the Romans, loosening your robe) at the end of the night. Lucky for us, art history provides countless depictions of our descent into food-related madness. So, before you indulge in a tryptophan-fueled evening, let us walk you through a more vivid display of what your Thursday night with the family (or friends) has the potential to become. 

Read More  »

What TV Should You Watch With Your Family Over Thanksgiving?

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it's time to turn our attention to the true meaning of the day: TV marathons. Perhaps you are cocooning yourself away from society for a brief respite, or perhaps you are in charge of entertaining a gaggle of toddlers. For those instances, and several instances in between, we're here to help. This post doesn't contain any spoilers, so fear not, those of you who, for a variety of wacky reasons, "save up" TV to watch over holidays.

If you need a reminder that all families are weird ... »

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 11:25 AM
  • Arrests

Jian Ghomeshi Surrenders to Police on Sexual-Assault Charges

Yesterday, Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi dropped the $55 million lawsuit he and his lawyers filed against the CBC, his former employer who fired him after sexual-abuse allegations started coming to light. Today, the Toronto police said in a statement that Ghomeshi has turned himself over to the police. He has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance — choking. Ghomeshi is set to appear in court later this afternoon.

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 11:00 AM
  • Bffs

Hear the Story of When Lorde and Taylor Swift Became BFFs

It feels like just yesterday that Lorde and Taylor Swift were spotted at Shake Shack together. That was, it turns out, the first time they hung out. Fledgling BFFs who bonded over delicious milkshakes, then played adorable pranks at a pre-Grammys party. Made to be? Yes, we get the joke. We always have.

  • Posted 11/26/14 at 10:45 AM
  • Art

European Art Collective Trawls the Darknet With Bot, Gets Creepy Packages

By now you’ve probably heard about the internet’s shadowy “Darknet” black-market sites, where Bitcoin-rich shoppers cloaked in anonymizing software can buy everything from hackers’ services to MDMA. The FBI clamped down on the most famous of the sites, Silk Road. Another site, Utopia, was shuttered this year by Dutch National Police after undercover agents bought “several thousand” ecstasy pills and were even offered an assassin. A third site, Agora, has reached a critical mass, with more listings than any other; shoppers there can find everything from “Pakistani Culero hash” to semiautomatic firearms.

Read More  »

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