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  • Posted 4/18/14 at 5:30 PM

Ebiri on A Haunted House 2: A Movie-Length Nervous Breakdown

A Haunted House 2 is not a movie. It is a nervous breakdown. Directed by Michael Tiddes but largely the handiwork of star, producer, and co-writer Marlon Wayans, the film is being billed as yet another Wayans-ized spoof of the horror movie genre, à la the first Haunted House movie and the wildly successful Scary Movie series. (Keenen Ivory Wayans and his brothers were responsible for the first two Scary Movie films; they have since left that franchise, which may explain why a new one was needed.) And there are some familiar digs at recent horror flicks: This time, the creepy doll and the closet from The Conjuring, the family-murdering demon from Sinister, and the dybbuk box from The Possession all make appearances. But this new film is mostly an excuse for star Marlon Wayans to have extended freak-outs in response to the horrors visited upon him — shrieking, screaming, crying, cowering, and occasionally hate-fucking for minutes on end. Yes, you read that last bit right. A Haunted House 2 puts the satyriasis back in satire.

There are stabs at other types of humor here. »

James Franco May Be Batman, a Robot, or a Clone

How on earth does James Franco find the time to be, well, James Franco? By the time the rest of us have crawled out of bed and made a pot of coffee, he’s written a book, gotten the adaptation of said book into a film festival, made a cameo in a fun project, caused a scandal, and appeared onstage in his Broadway debut (during which he'll shoot another movie). For those of us observing from the sidelines — and even to some of his fellow collaborators — it can seem like a daunting schedule, as Vulture discovered when we asked the cast and crew of his aforementioned Broadway debut, Of Mice and Men, to figure out exactly how he does it.

Franco’s friend and co-star Jim Parrack assured us that there is no “secret secret.” »

Michelle Obama Will Appear on Nashville

Michelle Obama will appear on the May 7 episode of Nashville, in which Rayna (Connie Britton) organizes a charity confer, ABC announced today. Oh, FLOTUS, Nashville? We'll assume the First Lady is too busy to keep up with the show, because if she'd seen even a single episode this season, she'd know that it has really lost its luster; there's nothing inherently wrong with country-music kabuki, but there's no excuse for terrible pacing and unrecognizable human behavior. At least iCarly knew how to see a story through to its natural conclusion.

Ask a Career Coach: 4 Things Don Draper Should Do to Fix His Life

Don Draper needs a job. He needs a lot of things, actually: a wife he views as an equal, some true friends, a recreational hobby (tennis, maybe? furniture restoration?), and certainly an AA group. But these needs are as old as Mad Men; we've known about the women and the booze as long as we've known Don Draper. What's new this season is that the legendary ad man — the dickish creative genius, the "Why I'm quitting tobacco" guy — is now mostly without a job, sitting sadly on his couch, ghostwriting for lesser men. The last of his purpose has drained out of him. It is not a good look.

“Maybe say, Fuck advertising, I'm done with this shit.»

See Every Food Porn Shot From NBC's Hannibal

If Dr. Hannibal Lecter ever wrote a cookbook, it would be titled, How to Cook Everyone. (Or, maybe, To Serve Man — copyright Rod Serling.) Dr. Lecter is the classiest cannibal around, with the hands of Jacques Pepin and the face of an intense Danish actor. Throughout the show, he prepares lavish meals from the body parts of his various victims: Cassie Boyle’s lungs, some random guy running away in the woods, serial killer James Gray. Like the grisly murder tableaus that are so lovely you can’t look away from them, the dishes on Hannibal are so food porn-y you don’t know whether to grab a fork or to throw up. His guests gush over his elegant plates, ignorant to the fact that they're about to eat people. Click through to see every dish he’s made on the show so far.  

Edelstein on Heaven Is for Real: A Gentle Movie That Wants Us to Believe the Best of Death

In 2003, Colton Burpo, the 5-year-old son of Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo, had emergency surgery for a burst appendix, and though he didn’t technically “die” or have a “near-death experience,” he left his body for approximately three (Earth) minutes and visited heaven — where he met Jesus (still bearing the marks of his crucifixion), Mary, the Holy Spirit, angels in white choir robes with wings, the grandfather who perished long before he was born, and the sister who died in his mother’s womb but was now growing normally, beautifully. Because heaven time is longer than Earth time, Colton was able to observe many things that conformed to descriptions in Scripture, of which he — being 5 — could obviously have had no prior knowledge.

Pastor Burpo’s account of his son’s journey became a huge bestseller. »

Max Greenfield to Star in Michael Showalter Movie

Talking to the Wrap, Greenfield revealed he will be starring in a new film written and directed by Michael Showalter. Greenfield — who first worked with Showalter on They Came Together, the David Wain rom-com parody Showalter co-wrote — described Hello My Name Is Doris as a dramedy about an older woman who is “forced to kind of find a new life in the city” after the death of her mother, and the younger guy (Greenfield) whom she thinks is the answer. This will be Showalter’s second feature, after 2005’s The Baxter, in which Showalter has remarked that he wishes he could’ve had a different actor star, instead of himself. Watch out, Paul Rudd, it appears these guys might’ve found their new handsome surrogate.    

Orphan Black Is Back and You Should Watch It

Orphan Black's second season debuts on Saturday — which means there's still time to catch up! And you should; the show is terrific. It's original and confident, beautifully acted and perfectly paced. There's the sinister international-conspiracy stuff, decent action sequences, and the fun kind of violence, but maybe more important, the show also has a sense of humor. It's not all sad ladies and anonymous, cloudy Canadian backdrops! The show contains multitudes.

I haven't evangelized this hard for a sci-fi series since I launched my quest to make every human on earth watch Battlestar Galactica. »

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 2:00 PM
  • Tv

‘I Only Do Outraged’: Vincent Kartheiser on Pete Campbell, Mad Men’s Final Season, and Internet Haters

Mad Men’s sixth season was a disastrous one for Pete Campbell, Sterling Cooper & Partners’ charmingly smarmy advertising-accounts executive—which made it a great one for Vincent Kartheiser, who plays him. In the span of 13 episodes, Pete got thrown out of the house by his wife, Trudy, for cheating; ran into his father-in-law at a brothel, costing SC&P the $9 million Vicks Chemical account; got banished to the firm’s nascent Los Angeles office; and tangled with a sociopathic co-worker, Bob Benson, who stole the Chevy account from him and may have played a role in the murder of Pete’s mother.

Pete has never been easy to like, but Kartheiser’s exasperated reactions to every setback have launched a thousand gifs and transformed a once-loathsome character into an oddly endearing one. All of which seems to have only inflamed Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s sadistic tendencies: “When you put him in positions to be wronged,” Weiner says, “you know you’re gonna get a full Jack Lemmon kind of frustration and anger that’s very physical, very funny.” Like the time, also last season, when, during an argument with his nemesis, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Pete fell on his ass down a flight of stairs. “It was amazing,” says Weiner. “That was one of the payoffs to spending all that money building that staircase. We knew he would just be apoplectic.”

Hamm: “We’ve all made our peace with Vinnie’s antics. It’s crossed out of annoying and landed into adorable.” »

Dave Holmes Flashes Back to the Insane, Riveting Battle of the Network Stars

We are coming up on another Coachella weekend and, even though I’m not going, my ringing ears need a break. So for this week’s installment of Somewhere in Time, we’re going to take a little day trip in my Delorean GIF in the opposite direction. If you were alive in the 1970s and 1980s, and if you were raised by a television set as I was, you have fond memories of the biannual TV extravaganza event Battle of the Network Stars, in which your favorite personalities from ABC, CBS, and NBC would show off their athleticism (by which I mean their thighs and chests). It was an all-out war for bragging rights (and actual money — each player for the winning team would win $20,000 for themselves and not for charity), and I don’t think there’s anything I miss more. So guess what: On Monday nights, ESPN Classic shows four back-to-back reruns of ’70s and ’80s Battles of the Network Stars, and I can tell you with confidence that it’s worth changing your cable tier for, because that’s exactly what I did. Come with me as I count down the 12 best reasons why vintage BotNS is the binge-watch-worthiest show on television.

Cosell: “THE GIRLS OF ABC: UTTERLY PROSTRATE.” »

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 1:20 PM
  • Music

‘You & I’ Video: One Direction Meets The Craft

Is One Direction totally ripping off The Craft in their new video for "You & I"? Either Manon is stepping in and all of a sudden giving the boys the power of glamour (that's the one where you can change your appearance), or a music video director needed some way to avoid the whole they-can't-dance thing. Compare and discuss below.

Edelstein: Fading Gigolo Is So Crazy That It’s … Fun

When John Turturro writes and directs, the wiry actor becomes a florid romantic, a cheerleader for abbondanza and passione. (The latter is the title of his wonderful documentary about the music of Naples.) His new film, Fading Gigolo, is a hymn to the healing sensuous touch. He has cast himself as a diffident, gentle Manhattan florist named Fioravante who’s tapped by his friend Murray (Woody Allen), the owner of a failed used bookstore, to work as a high-priced prostitute. You read that correctly: Woody Allen is John Turturro’s pimp. And it turns out that Fioravante — not, by his own admission, conventionally handsome and certainly not young — is catnip for the ladies, some (Sharon Stone, Sofía Vergara) wowzas in their own right. He treats them like the fragile flowers they are — and they bloom. But Fioravante’s professional gunslinger detachment is tested when Murray hooks him up with an ultra-Orthodox widow, Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), one of those Jewish “lice ladies” who pick nits out of kids’ (and their parents’) hair. As Avigal begins to smile a lot, a lovelorn Orthodox law-enforcement type (Liev ­Schreiber) from her close-knit Brooklyn neighborhood monitors her comings and goings from Fioravante’s apartment — and the florist begins to think about putting down roots of his own.

What puts Fading Gigolo over the top is the presence of Allen. »

Scandal Had Its Most-Watched Finale Yet Last Night

Scandal wrapped its third season Thursday with massive ratings: 10.5 million viewers watched the Misadventures of the Family Pope, giving the Shonda Rhimes-created show its biggest finale audience ever, and flirting with an all-time viewership high for the series. Among viewers under 50, Scandal jumped 13 percent vs. last week to a 3.4 rating, giving it a bigger young adult audience than the combined adults 18-49 viewership last night of NBC’s Community season/series finale (1.0), Parks and Rec (0.9) and the Parenthood finale (1.3). Overall, ABC says season three of Scandal surged about 40 percent in both viewers and the adult 18-49 demo vs. season two, easily making it network TV’s fastest-growing returning show. Scandal also boosted Jimmy Kimmel Live, which had its best-ever ratings at 11:35 thanks to an episode themed around the night’s Shondanigans.

Take the Johnny Depp Movie-Hair Quiz

In the sci-fi thriller Transcendence, which opens this weekend, Johnny Depp spends the majority of his time onscreen inside a computer. (It's a long story, but basically he is inside a computer.) Though we get to see a digitized version of him, it's not the same thing. When you see a Johnny Depp movie, you're partly paying to see what his face and hair look like. From 1990's Cry-Baby through last year's The Lone Ranger, something is always going on with his head. So we wanted to test how familiar you are with the comings and goings of Johnny Depp's follicles. In Vulture's Johnny Depp Movie-Hair Quiz, you'll be shown fifteen haircuts and you have to pick which movie it's from. Luckily, right or wrong, you'll get to see that handsome mug of his. Good luck!

Scandal’s Season 3 Finale: Crescendo, Crescendo, Crescendo

A bomb and a dead child; a callous sex scene and some A+ screaming; vile machinations and a vengeance streak powerful enough to make an Old Testament God acknowledge that game recognize game. Scandal's season finale certainly went whole hog — or should I say whole piggy-piggy? — but the episode summed up everything that was off about season three: all crescendo, no climax. Tension's only tension when there's an eventual release. Otherwise that's not tension we're building; it's just unhappiness. I used to think of Scandal as a very tense show. Now I wonder if maybe it's more of a miserable one.

Remember James? RIP, James. »

American Idol Recap: Good-bye, Stranger

All day, I’ve been thinking about this old Bloom County strip from the early ’80s. I felt a lot like Opus today. In my last couple of recaps, I’ve kind of turned ape on this show, and I started to think I might have been a little too harsh. And then I remembered that this week’s performance show included long shots of Dexter sleeping and CJ vacuuming, and I realized I haven’t been harsh enough. So I’m exactly like Opus in that Bloom County strip, just without the last panel.

Six more weeks of American Idol winter. »

Community Season Finale Recap: 5 Seasons and a Treasure Hunt

“Firing on all cylinders” is not a phrase that I use often, but when the shoe fits, it fits. “Basic Sandwich,” the second half of Community’s fifth season finale, was all the things fans of the show love it for: absurd, poignant, metatextual, layered, and deeply funny. It was also unabashed in relating its central plotline (the search for Greendale’s founding dean, Russell Borchert, and his treasure, whatever that meant) to Community’s continued existence as a television show.

Dan Harmon has never exactly shied away from meta commentary about the show. »

Watch Bloopers From This Season of Scandal

Acting is hard. Not only do you have to remember the lines, but you also have to say them and then keep on remembering them and keep on saying them. As a result of this difficulty, we get bloopers! Last night, after the season finale of Scandal, Shonda Rhimes sat down with Jimmy Kimmel to eat some popped corn, drink some wine, and watch some bloops. Finally, it's your chance to see Kerry Washington not be absolutely flawless.

What Plot Point Did Scandal and Game of Thrones Share This Week?

There are spoilers in this post for this week's episodes of Game of Thrones and Scandal.

What do Scandal and Game of Thrones have in common this week?

One very big thing. »

Ebiri: Transcendence Is at Heart an Old-Fashioned Horror Movie, It Just Doesn’t Seem to Know It

Transcendence is at heart an old-fashioned monster movie. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to know it. Ostensibly a cautionary tale about the prospect of the Singularity – the idea that human consciousness and technology will one day inevitably merge to create a superior form of life — Wally Pfister’s film tries to blend action epic, intimate drama, and scientific thriller all into one. But it’s really a film like The Fly or Colossus of New York, in which scientists flaunt the rules of nature and wind up turning themselves (or their loved ones) into horrific, awesome beasts, always with tragic results.

Here, the scientist in question is brilliant artificial-intelligence researcher Will Caster (Johnny Depp). »

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