It's a Friday afternoon and the internet is acting spooky, so you tell me, who among us currently has anything better to do than stroll into a White House press briefing? Not Bill Murray, erstwhile elusive curiosity and recently ubiquitous man of the people. In town to pick up the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, Murray made a detour while visiting President Obama, wandering in to the White House press corp. He talked sports, specifically the Cubs' World Series chances and how he thinks they're good. And come on — that face, behind that podium? Now, there's an America you can believe in.
I have no idea what’s going on in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Although I haven’t read the two Douglas Adams novels that it’s based on, I’ve been assured by Adams devotees that you’re not supposed to know what’s going on — that knowing what’s happening is not the point of the exercise. You’re supposed to sort of feel your way through it all, go with the flow; at least that’s how the title character (Samuel Barrett) describes his investigation into a bloody cosmic disturbance that opens this BBC America series, by way of enticing a bellhop named Todd (Elijah Wood) to become his sidekick. He tells Todd that he’s less interested in the sorts of procedural details that typically obsess TV detectives than in “the fundamental interconnectness of all things.” “You’re a detective who doesn’t find clues,” Todd says, his exasperation mirroring my own.
Nothing says Christmas spirit quite like R. Kelly, am I right? Whether the world wanted it or not, Kellz has taken the natural progression from 12 Play to 12 Nights of Christmas, which is both the title of his new holiday album and the number of times he's threatened to fill up your, ahem, stockings this season. Given that this is his first-ever Christmas album, any reasonable person might expect him to stick to the classics, but that would just be too tame. All of his Christmas carols are originals and come rated-R for extreme ridiculousness (and, uh, sex, obviously). Is it okay to listen to any of them, Christmastime or not? Only if you'd like to kill your holiday buzz months in advance. Below, we unwrap the silliest things he says on this album. Cheers!
Jennifer Lawrence, who may know a thing or two about the muse-lover role, is set to play Zelda Fitzgerald in a biopic. Zelda, about the Jazz Age "It" girl who famously struggled with her own creative works while inspiring those of husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, will pair Lawrence with possible director Ron Howard. Howard is developing the project now, with an interest in stepping behind the camera, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Nancy Milford’s biography Zelda is the basis of the project, which has a script penned by Emma Frost (The White Queen). Lawrence's casting sounds like a good fit — after all, Fitzgerald was known as the "first American flapper," while Lawrence is famously, gloriously flappable. So ... just how high are the odds for Bradley Cooper as F. Scott?
There's been no sophomore slump for Barry Jenkins. Eight years after his first film, the influential Medicine for Melancholy, Jenkins has written and directed Moonlight, which is earning some of the best reviews of the year. Adapted from the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the film tracks its protagonist, Chiron, through three pivotal periods of his life: as a boy (Alex Hibbert) mistreated by his drug-addicted mother (Naomie Harris), as a wiry teenager (Ashton Sanders) figuring out his sexuality, and as a man (Trevante Rhodes) who wears his muscles like a suit of armor but finds an unexpectedly emotional connection with an old friend (André Holland). For Jenkins, the film sometimes hit too close to home: He, too, grew up in Chiron's rough Miami neighborhood with a mother who grappled with substance abuse. For those reasons, Moonlight is hard for him to watch. For other people, though, it is a necessity.
Among the thousands of cosplayers and attendees at New York Comic Con this year, one stood, quite literally, above all the rest. The over 9-foot-tall costume lurched through crowds, parting the masses of comic fandom. The cosplay is based on Reinhardt, a hero character from Blizzard's popular first-person shooter game Overwatch. Created by Thomas DePetrillo, the costume cost, in parts and labor, upward of $30,000.
Anthologies are all the rage these days, from Ryan Murphy's ever-expanding empire of not-so-mini mini-series to Joe Swanberg's recent collection of romance shorts. And yet no program has taken advantage of the elasticity of anthology storytelling quite like Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, trading pet themes, genres, creative personnel, and tones from one episode to the next. A newfangled, potentially disastrous technology pops up in each installment, giving the collection a healthy sense of cohesion, but the 13 episodes aired so far could not be more all over the map. Political satires and future dystopias, cop procedurals and war dramas, soulless nihilism and life-affirming humanism — if you dislike Black Mirror, perhaps you just haven't found the right episode yet.
Such a varied palette of styles and stories means that the series is naturally hit or miss. It delivers far more hits than misses, but hashing out which episode hits hardest can be helpful for a newbie who wants to customize their viewing order. Read on for Vulture's definitive ranking of all 13 episodes of Black Mirror, from the worst to the best.
The High Maintenance Creators on Their First HBO Season, Interrogating Their Fans, and Why ‘The Guy’ Is Less Chill These DaysBy Gazelle Emami, Jen Chaney and Matt Zoller Seitz
High Maintenance wraps its first run on HBO tonight, a six-episode season that told 11 short stories, each reflecting a different corner of human experience in New York. It caps things off with the return of Patrick (Michael Cyril Creighton), one of the web series’ most affecting characters, and in a High Maintenance first, we finally get a glimpse into the Guy’s (co-creator Ben Sinclair) life. Show creators Katja Blichfeld and Sinclair joined the Vulture TV Podcast recently to discuss their influences, which characters they feel most deeply for, and why the Guy is less chill this season. (Listen to our conversation on the next Vulture TV Podcast, out Tuesday, October 25).
Alright, you can get that light out of Anne Hathaway's face already, because she's ready to confess. That Oscar acceptance speech that became the flashpoint around Hathaway's label as a phony try-hard? The actress admits it was a sham, but only because Les Misérables left her in a suuuper-weird head space. "It’s an obvious thing, you win an Oscar and you’re supposed to be happy. I didn’t feel that way," Hathaway told the Guardian, explaining that the experience of making Les Mis — wherein Hathaway chopped off her hair, whittled herself down to skin and bone, and bellowed her guts out while cameras swung in dizzying circles around her — took its toll. In Hathaway's words: "I felt very uncomfortable. I kind of lost my mind doing that movie and it hadn’t come back yet. Then I had to stand up in front of people and feel something I don’t feel which is uncomplicated happiness."
I felt wrong that I was standing there in a gown that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime, and winning an award for portraying pain that still felt very much a part of our collective experience as human beings. I tried to pretend that I was happy and I got called out on it, big time. That’s the truth and that’s what happened. It sucks. But what you learn from it is that you only feel like you can die from embarrassment, you don’t actually die.
Let he among us who has endured Les Mis sans prolonged funk throw the first stone.
Leonardo DiCaprio, he's our hero. A week before his climate-change documentary Before the Flood is set to premiere on the National Geographic Channel, Netflix is releasing the first trailer for the DiCaprio-produced The Ivory Game, which illuminates the shadowy and horrifying black market of ivory trafficking, and explains how it's wiping out global elephant populations. “Traders in ivory actually want extinction of elephants,” says one man. “The less elephants there are, the more the price rises.” So get ready to see a grown elephant pushing around a large piece of elephant skeleton on the ground as a disembodied voice tells you how elephants treat each other as family and we don’t yet have an understanding of how deeply they feel for each other. Yeah. It’s like that. The Ivory Game premieres on Netflix on November 4.
Given that Tom Cruise is of relatively small stature and that a defining element of Lee Child’s do-gooder killing machine Jack Reacher is that he’s six-foot-five, the second Cruise-Reacher outing is not bad at all. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a tight little thriller directed by Edward Zwick, who generally does highbrow projects but worked with Cruise on The Last Samurai and probably needed a commercial hit. The choice of this particular Child novel seemed odd, given that it’s one of the talkiest and the payoff is muted, but Zwick and his partner Marshall Hershkovitz (Richard Wenk also has screenplay credit) have changed the story and upped the number of kills. My hunch is that, like Nicholas Meyer with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, they pored over the Reacher canon to find the most Ur-Reacher moments and sprinkled them through the script. Although the reviews have been bad (there are people who think, inexplicably, that Christopher McQuarrie, the director of Jack Reacher, is a master of the genre), the movie is lighter, more fun, and ultimately more satisfying than its weighty predecessor.
This week we're providing a series of Vulture Hacks: expert advice, gear guides, and recommendations to help you maximize your entertainment experience.
Considering how often video-game marketing proudly touts more than 100 hours of gameplay content, it's understandable if certain would-be gamers assume they don't have time to pick up a controller. Think of all the shows and movies and books and general human interaction you could enjoy in 100 hours!
Thankfully, short games are just as plentiful as massive ones, and no less compelling. The 21 titles on this list span all manner of tones and genres: There are games where you shoot and games where you fight, games that are spooky and games that are funny, mysteries and parodies and really good stories — and every one of them can be completed in the time it takes to watch a couple of movies or the entirety of a British television show. These are complete experiences, and some of the best games in recent memory.
In his August 1928 rave for The Front Page, Brooks Atkinson, of the Times, felt compelled to offer a warning that the Ben Hecht–Charles MacArthur dialogue “bruises the sensitive ear with a Rabelaisian vernacular unprecedented for its up-hill and down-dale blasphemy.” Our ears are not so sensitive 88 years later, and I can print words here that would have turned Rabelais red, but the fourth Broadway revival of the show, which opened last night in a top-notch production starring Nathan Lane, still gets to a man’s heart through his ears. Though it’s generically a farce, if a dark one, you can see why Atkinson called it a melodrama: The first act, which is mostly exposition, works like an orchestral tone poem, with the voices of a septet of Chicago newsmen entering fuguelike in various registers and taking their time to get to a climax. The slow build, like the play overall, is a masterpiece of construction, the kind that for a hundred reasons (including the cost of a 25-person cast) shouldn’t work today, but that under Jack O’Brien’s nervy direction undeniably does.
Madonna's behemoth Rebel Heart tour may have ended back in March — and sold more than $100 million in the process — but it's made room for one more stop. Showtime is bringing the Rebel Heart tour straight to your living room, presenting all the spanking, breast-exposing, and hard-core flirting normally seen on the network at 2 a.m into prime time, baby. The concert special, Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour, will air December 9 at 9 p.m. ET and will feature behind-the-scenes footage as well as performances from her closing dates in Australia. Get a small taste of the "medieval warrior bitch goddess" in action above, but don't say we didn't warn you.
Watch the Nocturnal Animals Trailer If You Like Looking at Amy Adams in Nice Clothes and Jake Gyllenhaal Without ThemBy Jackson McHenry
This fall, the world has been gifted with two Amy Adams movies: One where she tries to communicate with aliens, and another where she tries to communicate with Jake Gyllenhaal. The latter, Nocturnal Animals, from designer turned director Tom Ford (A Single Man), stars Adams as a fashionable insomniac who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal) that tells the story of a family that's ambushed in Texas. The thriller flits back and forth between Adams's glitzy Los Angeles life with Armie Hammer and the plot of the manuscript, which features Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Isla Fisher (playing a fictional Adams, of course). Nocturnal Animals recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and will premiere in select theaters November 18. Watch the film's full, tense trailer above, with its first teaser below. A movie about Amy Adams reading books has never looked so compelling.
Writing for the internet involves constant self-monitoring, a hyperawareness employed at least in part out of the fear that one’s mistakes will be noticed and captured forever for posterity. And then sometimes you just … kinda lean into it. The New York Times' Mike Hale criticized Amazon's Goliath in his review for the “needlessly complicated structure of the initial episodes," only to later realize he had accidentally watched the series' second episode first. Unfortunately, that mistake explained, oh, a lot of the problems he had with Billy Bob Thornton's legal drama. "The nature of the case McBride has taken on (involving a suspicious suicide) is revealed slowly and cryptically, a bit of writerly delayed gratification that keeps your attention but isn’t particularly rewarding,” Hale wrote in the piece, which has since been edited. "Then, presumably because the first episode leaves so much unanswered, the next jumps back in time to fill in the history of the case — and when the second episode ends, the story hasn’t even caught up to where it started.” If the idea of making this mistake doesn't cause chills to run up your spine, clearly you do not write about TV on the internet. The Times has since added a correction which reads: "A television review on Friday about the new Amazon series “Goliath” included an inaccurate discussion of the show’s plot structure. The critic mistakenly watched the first two episodes out of order." Then again, it could have been way worse. He could have absolutely loved it.
A 13 Going on 30 Musical Is Coming to Broadway, and You Know They’ve Got at Least One Musical Number ReadyBy Karen Brill
13 Going on 30 is getting the song-and-dance treatment, Deadline reports. The book will come from the film's screenwriters Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (First Date). For those filmgoers with no appreciation for the classics, 13 Going on 30 is about a girl who makes a wish for adulthood on her 13th birthday and wakes up grown, set to discover that adulthood, you know, sucks. The movie memorably features a musical moment of its own — a casual, collective group performance of "Thriller" — and Deadline says the musical's creative team hasn't ruled out licensing the Michael Jackson hit. Alright, then. This has been your very natural excuse to go re-watch 13 Going on 30 at your earliest convenience.
In the scene that opens the second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) and Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) sit beside each other in the front of a red convertible, the same car they snuggled in during the season-one finale when Rebecca finally, ill-advisedly, admitted that she moved to West Covina, California, to be with Josh. The image of them in that particular car calls to mind the movie Grease, which ends with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta driving off in a convertible, gleefully, albeit nonsensically, into the blue sky above Rydell High. To underline the connection, Rebecca even notes that in the leather jacket he’s wearing, Josh looks like Danny Zuko.
Captain Marvel's big-screen debut isn't due until 2019, but the last time I talked to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, he was bullish that he'd have both a star and a director signed for the film by the end of summer. At Comic-Con, he announced that Oscar-winner Brie Larson would topline Marvel's first female-fronted superhero movie, but despite reports in August that Feige has met with directors like Niki Caro, Lesli Linka Glatter, and Lorene Scafaria to helm the film, the Captain Marvel stewardship remains an open assignment.
For decades, one of the most loathsome aspects of the geek-culture ecosystem has been the way male artists draw female characters in mainstream comics. Half of the human race has generally been sketched as a parade of walking pinups since the medium’s inception in the 1930s, but in the late '80s, the problem became especially pernicious. In tales of superheroes and super-anti-heroes, ladies seemingly had their spines removed in order to better show off their mountainous butts and beach-ball breasts. Though that trend has, thankfully, leveled off a bit, images of oversexualized women remain so ubiquitous that readers often hardly even notice them.
But not always. Every so often, for one reason or another, social media’s nerd commentariat decides that an image — usually from the cover of a comic book — has gone too far. In 2014, critic Janelle Asselin wrote an influential piece for Comic Book Resources about the way artist Kenneth Rocafort drew Wonder Girl on a Teen Titans cover. That same year, a Spider-Woman cover by Italian soft-core porn artist Milo Manara drew jeers for the mind-bending anatomy of the title character’s butt ("It looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume,” wrote Slate’s Amanda Marcotte). This week, a new image entered the outrage pantheon: a limited-edition cover for the upcoming Invincible Iron Man No. 1, penciled by J. Scott Campbell and depicting a 15-year-old girl named Riri Williams (see below).
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