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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 2:17 PM
  • Reboots

Samuel L. Jackson in Talks for a Shaft Sequel, Written by Black-ish’s Kenya Barris

Samuel L. Jackson — patron saint of the word mother-shut your mouth! — is in talks to play Shaft again. Jackson starred in a 2000 reboot effort — Shaft, directed by John Singleton — that was positively reviewed (it’s definitely his 27th-best performance) but didn’t spawn an immediate sequel. Now, New Line is negotiating to bring back Jackson, according to Variety, and Survivor’s Remorse star Jessie T. Usher to star as Shaft’s son. Black-ish creator Kenya Barris will write the script, and Tim Story (Ride Along, 2005’s Fantastic Four) will direct. Variety says Jackson and Usher’s selection will help the franchise pass the torch to a younger star, as happened with Creed and Blade Runner: 2049. Cue that classic Isaac Hayes theme: Shaft! Can you dig it?

  • Posted 8/18/17 at 1:00 PM
  • Sense8

A Porn Site Offers to Give Sense8 a Third Season, With the Climax It Deserves

Netflix canceled its globe-trotting, LGBTQ-friendly, very sexy drama Sense8 earlier this year, then apologized, then promised to wrap things up with a two-hour special. But according to the people who run the porn website xHamster, things don’t have to climax and finish so quickly. The site reached out to creators Lana and Lilly Wachowski with an offer to produce a third season of Sense8. “We’re not talking about a parody, or something less than, but an actual revival of the series,” xHamster writes. “We know that a series about polymorphous perversity is a hard sell for a mainstream network like Netflix. We have no such limitations, and also understand implicitly the interconnectedness of sexualities across boundaries. In short, we are a we.”

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Marjorie Prime’s Geena Davis Hopes Wonder Woman Will Change Everything, But…

Geena Davis has been acting in Hollywood for three-and-a-half decades, but it really wasn’t until her new movie, Marjorie Prime, that she got to play out a significant mother-daughter story on the big screen. “It didn’t occur to me how unusual that is!” said Davis this week, while talking to Vulture. “I certainly noticed that the movie was even-handed when it comes to female characters, and that it was a wonderful, interesting, and challenging thing to do, but it never occurred to me to think, ‘For once, we’re doing a mother-daughter exploration rather than father-son.’ ” She laughed. “Now that you mention it, though, I like that.”

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 12:32 PM

Either Taylor Swift Is Hacked or She’s Up to Something (Probably the Latter)

*Eyes emoji* Taylor Swift is up to something. Or she’s just been hacked (again). But more likely, she’s got a surprise planned. Eagle-eyed Swifties have noticed that the singer’s social-media accounts have gone suspiciously dark: Across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her personal YouTube, she has nary a profile picture. All of her photos have been deleted. She’s no longer following anyone on Twitter. Is she erasing history? Or just prepping for a big drop? Save for her sexual-assault trial victory, she’s been curiously silent since the great Kim Kardashian Snapchat leak of summer 2016, which proved that Swift sneakily gave Kanye’s controversial “Famous” lyric a green light. Her last album, 1989, was released in 2014. What’s coming?

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 12:30 PM

It’s Alive! A Don Giovanni Where Even the Sets Perform

Opera is among the more cumbersome arts, usually requiring expensive infrastructure, machinery, and labor on a military scale. But the version of Don Giovanni that Iván Fischer imported to the Mostly Mozart Festival, a tour de force of sexy minimalism, would practically fit in his hand luggage. Aside from a pair of stepped boxes and a plentiful supply of white greasepaint, Fischer uses only Mozart’s score, Lorenzo Da Ponte’s fierce libretto, and his own corps of multitalented performers to whip up one of the most crackling Don Giovannis I’ve seen. The conductor also directs, instantly resolving the commonplace conflict between the theater pro, who doesn’t quite know what to do with all that music and singing, and the maestro, who would rather the singers stop moving around so much and just get the notes out. Fischer’s cast tumbles, dances, fights, and gropes — and every raised eyebrow and rude gesture plays its part in service to the score. And I don’t remember when I’ve heard a more theatrically dynamic performance: basses and cellos swarming demonically, trombones sounding out moral retribution, violins psyching the title character up to some fresh outrage.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 12:26 PM

Gook Offers a Visually Striking But Distant Korean Perspective on the L.A. Riots

In an essay on the now-defunct MTV News reflecting on her childhood memories of the 1992 L.A. riots, critic Inkoo Kang wrote, “Destroyed businesses aren’t ended lives. But businesses do represent dreams and hopes and livelihoods and life savings — and the sudden demolition of those things deserves to be remembered.” Such a business (over 2,000 were damaged or destroyed during the riots) serves as the backdrop for filmmaker and actor Justin Chon’s striking Gook, a rare account of those five dark days told from a primarily Korean-American perspective. But the modest shop run by its two leads in the sun-baked southland city of Paramount doesn’t just resemble the capitalist American dreams of its owners; it represents an often-fraught effort to exist within a diverse community.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 12:17 PM

Cardi B Is the Undisputed Artist of the Summer

Debating this year’s Song of the Summer is futile: It’s “Despacito,” “Despacito” — the teeniest bit “Wild Thoughts” — and “Despacito.” The predominately Spanish-language Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee smash, with the small contribution of Justin Bieber on its remix, is poised to become the Song of the Decade, breaking records at a pace contradictory to its title. But even as that song continues its record-breaking rise, another artist is having a very big summer: Cardi B, the 24-year-old Bronx rapper whose star power refused to be confined to Love & Hip-Hop.

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Why The Defenders Has a Scene About White Privilege

Spoilers ahead for Netflix’s The Defenders.

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The Defenders Recap: Talk to the Hand

After New York City was literally shaken at the end of The Defenders’ series premiere, the world of these heroes has been turned on its side. “Mean Right Hook” opens with a shot of the city tilted at 90 degrees, rotating back upright as the camera moves over the chaos unfolding on the streets below, then swinging around to reveal Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) perched on the corner of a rooftop. It’s a disorienting shot, effectively evoking how Matt’s radar processes the flood of information his four heightened senses are absorbing all at once. But Matt is also disoriented on a spiritual level, caught between the thrill of vigilante life, the stability of civilian life, and a panicking city’s need for a protector. Crouched on that rooftop, he gives in to the pull of heroism and bolts off to save people in peril.

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Every Samuel L. Jackson Performance, Ranked From Worst to Best

The film critic David Thomson once wrote that “no one survives more bad material with humor and dignity” than Samuel L. Jackson, which is another way of saying: No movie with Samuel L. Jackson can ever be entirely boring. Jackson has been in comedies, dramas, actioners, horror films, and some truly inspired kitsch, and he always brings his distinctive oomph to each role.

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Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime Lannister’s Next Move

As Game of Thrones stampedes toward its seventh-season finale, Jaime Lannister has his, uh, hand full. The so-called Kingslayer is now a king himself in all but name, preparing to openly parent the baby he’s conceived with his sister, Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). At the same time, he’s attempting to broker an armistice between his incestuous lover and her rival, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), via their younger brother Tyrion, one of Westeros’s most wanted men. This comes after Jaime and his sparring partner Bronn (Jerome Flynn) barely escaped incineration by Dany’s dragon — a fate many of their forces were not lucky enough to dodge. It all leaves actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau feeling like his character should probably check his fatherly impulses at the gate of the Red Keep: “They shouldn’t do this!” he exclaims when asked about Jaime and Cersei’s plans for parenthood.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 10:30 AM

Review: The Disorienting Beauty of Grizzly Bear’s Painted Ruins

Eight months into what’s shaping up to be one of the strangest years on record, it’s hard to shake the sense each morning that literally anything is possible. You might wake up to news of a clandestine vote to revoke health care, or catty government in-fighting, or heartless domestic terror, or the palpable threat of nuclear cataclysm. It’s hard to find a precedent for this round-the-clock theater of the grotesque and profane; doomsayers speak of 1930s Europe, but the current culture of citizen documentarians, voyeurism, and ease of access to images of worldwide calamity doesn’t quite match anything in a history book. The pure recklessness of it feels like television. I keep returning to the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” where extraterrestrials descend on a suburban cul de sac sight unseen and switch the power off. The ensuing panic leads to distrustful squabbling, which devolves into a denouement of vandalism and murder. Human decency, it turns out, can be shucked as cleanly and quickly as shrimp shells.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 9:52 AM

Whitney: Can I Be Me Is a Remarkably Intimate Look at Whitney Houston’s Life

Early in Whitney: Can I Be Me, a new Showtime documentary that explores the issues that led to the demise of Whitney Houston, one of the most purely talented pop singers in music history, Houston is shown onstage in 1999, preparing to kick into the climactic, vocally daunting final chorus of “I Will Always Love You.” The camera closes in on Houston’s perspiring face as she stands on a stage in Frankfurt, Germany. She pauses for what feels like a while. She takes a deep breath, then another, and another. Her eyeballs do a little dance that suggests she’s struggling in some way, perhaps because she’s on something, a fair assumption to make given the drug addictions that dogged her throughout her life and, in 2012, would be cited as the cause of her sudden death at the age of 48. For a few seconds, it’s unclear if she’ll finish the song.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 9:39 AM

Jon Stewart Surprised Chappelle’s Radio City Show to Talk Trump: ‘Everybody Who Is a Nazi Sure Does Seem to Like Him’

Dave Chappelle’s Radio City Music Hall residency had three surprise guests Thursday night: John Mayer, Hannibal Buress, and Jon Stewart. Ahead of his own return to stand-up comedy, Stewart offered some thoughts on the president, their one-time Twitter feud, and Trump’s response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. Stewart described a segment he watched on Fox News, where a correspondent politely inquires about the neo-Nazi procession in the city, when the Fox newsman seemed cozy enough with the crew to take up a tiki torch and march alongside them. “This is — I don’t even know what the fuck to say about a situation like this … I knew it would be bad because, and in the president’s defense, he is a terrible person,” Stewart said. “I don’t think everybody who likes him is a Nazi, but everybody who is a Nazi sure does seem to like him.” See his full comments below, as transcribed by New York Times reporter Sopan Deb:

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 9:24 AM
  • Arrests

Meek Mill Arrested for Reckless Endangerment After NYPD Catches Him Riding Dirt Bikes on Instagram

In news that gives literal meaning to the Feds are watching, Meek Mill was arrested in New York City on Thursday night for reckless endangerment, after the NYPD caught the rapper and his associates illegally riding dirt bikes in Inwood on Wednesday night in a since-deleted video posted to Mill’s Instagram. According to police, Mill violated local traffic laws by riding his motorcycle without a helmet and popping wheelies in and out of upper Manhattan traffic. Mill reportedly recorded his arrest on Instagram Live, where an officer is heard telling Mill, “I got pictures and video of you riding up and down.” Mill had been in town for his Thursday-night performance on the Tonight Show.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and James Corden Literally Stop Traffic With Hair, Because They’re Performing on a Crosswalk

Hollywood commuters: If a group of people in wigs led by two strange men danced in front of you at an intersection recently, now you know why. After performing Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, and Grease on a crosswalk, James Corden gets political with Hair, and recruits Lin-Manuel Miranda to help out and wear a whole lot of wigs. By the time they get to “Let the Sunshine In,” Miranda and Corden really commit to stripping down, and baring it all for the drivers stopped at the red light. And they say Los Angeles has no culture!

The Defenders Series-Premiere Recap: Don’t Call Them Heroes

Hero is your word, not mine,” Luke Cage (Mike Colter) says to a young man caught in a dangerous work situation in the premiere of Marvel’s The Defenders, and throughout the episode, the show’s would-be superteam tries to distance itself from the idea that they are heroes within their community.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 8:30 AM

A Tribute to the Truly Bungled Release of Tulip Fever

Has there ever been a film as enjoyably cursed as Tulip Fever? A period romance about a painter and his married muse who try to play the tulip market, Tulip Fever at least had an auspicious debut: Dreamworks optioned the 2000 novel by Deborah Moggach at the proof stage, long before it would become a best seller, and some of the biggest names in Hollywood flirted with adapting it. Four years later, Tulip Fever nearly got off the ground with Jude Law and Keira Knightley starring and Shakespeare in Love director John Madden at the helm, but shortly after planting 12,000 tulip bulbs at the start of production, the British government closed a critical tax loophole that blew up the budget, closed down the film, and left all those poor little tulips to wither.

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  • Posted 8/18/17 at 8:00 AM
  • Art

Protest Art: What Is It Good For?

This past April, I wrote this piece for New York Magazine asking whether the fervent production and presentation of political art in the wake of Trump’s election would or could do any good — whatever good might mean — or for that matter, produce particularly good works of art.

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