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Doctor Who Recap: Ghosts in the Machine

The base under siege trope has been a Doctor Who chestnut since the Patrick Troughton years. It got a particularly heavy series of workouts in his second season, where the majority of the stories fit the paradigm. The problem with whipping out base under siege at this point – after exploiting it ad nauseam for decades – is that you really do need to find a way to do something a little different with it. That is unfortunately the failure of “Under the Lake,” which feels so rote in its execution, that on my initial viewing, at one point I nodded off. At this stage in its long history, running up and down and back and forth through corridors, to and fro ghastly villains, does not a satisfying episode of Doctor Who make. And let’s be honest, that’s what the bulk of this episode was. This is the possible ugly side of any two-parter: Sometimes there isn’t enough story to fill 90 minutes; the flipside of cramming too much narrative into 45 minutes.


Junot Díaz Can’t Stand Trump’s Immigration Talk

America needs immigrants, no matter what Donald Trump thinks, Junot Díaz said at the New Yorker Festival Saturday morning. The Pulitzer-winning writer spoke with fellow author, and immigrant, Aleksandar Hemon, and the pair got into Trump’s controversial opinions regarding the issue.


Don DeLillo on Gun Violence, New York Life, and Writing

At the New Yorker Festival on Friday night, acclaimed American writer Don DeLillo offered his thoughts on America's gun violence problem, which was fitting, since DeLillo’s novels are known for story lines that comment upon threats to American society. He speculated on the motivation of lone shooters like the one who murdered nine people in an attack on Umpqua Community College in Oregon this past week.


Toni Morrison Has Some Words for the New York Times

Reading the New York Times is an interactive experience for novelist Toni Morrison. She edits her copy with a pencil while she reads, scratching out words and inserting alternatives, she told The New Yorker’s Hilton Als last night at the magazine’s annual festival.


11 Things We Learned at the New Yorker Festival’s Broad City Panel

The dribblings of Hurricane Joaquin didn’t dissuade Broad City fans from lining up in droves to see Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer chat with TV critic Emily Nussbaum during the New Yorker Festival. The writers and stars of the Comedy Central hit discussed everything from the real story behind “Pussy Weed” to how their on-screen counterparts are growing up. Plus, they plumbed the depths of modern Jewish identity: Glazer ID’d as the type of Jewess who gets Bat Mitzvah’d and then becomes a “cultural” Jew (scare quotes and everything), while Jacobson is the kind who celebrates Christmas.


Haim Wants to Bring Back Lilith Fair

Sarah McLachlan fans, take note: sister-trio pop rock band Haim wants to bring back a Lilith Fair style festival for the 2015 generation.


Stephen Colbert Gave a Searing Monologue on Guns, Trump, and ‘Honest Insanity’

"I want to talk about pretending," Stephen Colbert said on last night's episode of The Late Show, which aired just a little over 24 hours after the Oregon shooting. "That is something that I know a little bit about." Colbert used his own public persona as a means of segueing into a sober discussion on the insanity that is America's inability to have a rational, civilized discussion on gun control in the wake of repeated violence. The severity with which Colbert spoke harkens back to some of Jon Stewart's more serious talks, and presents a new side of the comedian. "I don't know how to start a show like this," Colbert said on his difficulty processing the Sisyphean repetition of violence, gun culture, and the insane way we talk about these issues. "One of the definitions of insanity is changing nothing and pretending something will change." He then veered into that acerbic Colbert style to discuss the "honesty insanity" of Donald Trump. You can watch the eight-minute monologue below.

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Is a Strange, Wonderful Film

Is the correct title for Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s latest film just Taxi, or Jafar Panahi’s Taxi? That ambiguity speaks to the movie’s beguiling, quietly revolutionary nature. On one level, this is a film about Panahi driving a taxi — which may not sound like much, but feels like an act of civil disobedience when you consider the fact that his last two, This is Not a Film and Closed Curtain, were made under house arrest. Panahi is still a marked man; the Iranian government’s 20-year filmmaking ban against him continues to stand, and he has very limited freedom of movement. He was unable to travel to Germany to pick up the Golden Bear that Taxi won at Berlin earlier this year. “The Ministry of Islamic Guidance approves the credits of all distributable films,” reads the onscreen text at the end of Taxi. “Despite my heartfelt wish, this film has no credits.” Which brings us to the second reason for that beautifully ambiguous possessive: We have no real idea who any of the other people who worked on this film are. Taxi is Jafar Panahi’s, and his alone.


Seth Rogen Wants to Circumcise James Franco (For Charity)

Speaking with Jimmy Fallon, funny guy with a beard Seth Rogen divulged that he wants to circumcise his BFF James Franco. It's for charity, of course — the fourth Hilarity for Charity, which benefits Alzheimer's research. To raise money and awareness, Rogen is going to throw Franco a Bar Mitzvah. That's actually happening, Rogen confirms; they have a Rabbi and everything. The circumcision is still up in the air, however.

  • Posted 10/2/15 at 7:42 PM

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Added to the Neverending List of Potential Star Wars: Episode VIII Actresses

We already knew that television faves Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) are in contention for a lead role opposite John Boyega in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Now, we can add Gugu Mbatha-Raw to that mix. Latino Review reports that the Beyond the Lights actress has auditioned for the role and is in consideration alongside the aforementioned women. Also in the running is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl star Olivia Cooke. Lest you think the women will have to battle to the death for this role, there are reportedly two major female roles in Episode VIII, and the actresses are being considered for both.


  • Posted 10/2/15 at 6:14 PM
  • Marvel

Taika Waititi Might Direct Thor: Ragnarok, Making Him Marvel’s First Nonwhite Director

The Marvel Cinematic Universe may finally get some long-overdue diversity behind the cameras: The Wrap reports that New Zealand's Taika Waititi is in talks to direct Thor: Ragnarok, the third Thor standalone film. Waititi could become the first nonwhite man Marvel Studios has ever picked to direct one of its superhero blockbusters. (Ava DuVernay, you'll remember, had been in talks to direct Black Panther, but declined the offer.) Waititi, who is half-Maori, previously directed Flight of the Conchords and co-wrote the screenplay for Disney's upcoming Moana, about a Polynesian princess. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his 2004 short film Two Cars, One Night and won praise for 2010's Boy, which became New Zealand's highest-grossing film that year. Strangely enough, Thor won't be Waititi's first experience with comics: He also appeared in 2011's Green Lantern as the Inuit engineer Thomas Kalmaku. Thor: Ragnorak is currently slated for 2017.

Freeheld Lacks the Energy and Passion of the Story, and Documentary, It’s Based On

A sallow, didactic little movie that proves modesty isn't always a virtue, Freeheld portrays the real-life struggle of Laurel Hester, a brave Ocean County, New Jersey, detective who, after a diagnosis of late-stage lung cancer, attempted to ensure that her pension benefits would go to her domestic partner Stacie Andree after her death. New Jersey as a state had recognized same-sex partnerships, but this was a county matter, so Hester had to convince the five-man Board of Freeholders to agree to her request. They refused. She fought back, and her case became a cause célèbre, transforming sleepy, sparsely attended county board hearings into hotbeds of protest and controversy. The events were laid out with suspense and passion in Cynthia Wade’s short, Oscar-winning 2007 documentary Freeheld. This narrative version loses both the suspense and the passion.

Okay, that's not entirely fair. »

Marvel is Developing a Damage Control Sitcom

ABC is looking to add another comic-book series to its roster to go with Agent Carter and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But this one doesn't revolve around superheroics — it's based on the people who have to clean up after superheroes. Damage Control is a comic book about the construction company that repairs New York City after heroes like Spider-Man, Hulk, and Captain America level the city during their epic battles. (Thankfully set in the Marvel universe, because nobody is trying to clean up the mess Superman made in Man of Steel.) The group first appeared in 1988, pitched to Marvel Comics by creator Dwayne McDuffie as "a sitcom within the Marvel Universe," and mostly includes non-superhero civilians, except for former Avenger Hercules, who has joined the crew as part of court-ordered community service and to make a few extra dollars. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the television adaptation is being developed by former Daily Show writer Ben Karlin, comedy producer David Miner (30 Rock, Parks and Recreation), and Marvel's head of television Jeph Loeb. While superheroes do pop up from time to time in the comic series, this will be an ABC sitcom, so you can probably just expect Agent Coulson and a bunch of other random S.H.I.E.L.D. cast members to show up.

Sorry, Matt Damon, the Plan to Rescue Someone From Mars Hasn’t Even Been Created Yet

With Ridley Scott's The Martian hitting theaters Friday, the question on everybody's mind this weekend is, What would NASA actually do if they really did leave a wisecracking botanist stranded on the surface of the Red Planet? The short answer: They’re not sure yet. As NASA spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz explained to Vulture, the agency is currently working on the Orion spacecraft in the hopes of sending mankind to Mars, “but there are a lot of problems that have to be solved first in terms of getting there. We wouldn’t be into planning contingencies [yet].” In other words, before a plan can go wrong, there has to be a plan. There isn't a team of Donald Glovers pounding coffee, waiting for an opportunity to discover outside-the-box solutions.

Similarly, the agency isn’t doing moon landings right now, so there’s nothing on the books for rescuing an astronaut from the moon, either. If history is any indication, landing on any sort of planetary body is a gamble that NASA considers impossible to double-down on. Back when he was Richard Nixon’s speechwriter, William Safire, actually drafted a speech in the event that the Apollo 11 crew became stranded on the moon. There was "no hope for recovery," he wrote: "Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace."


  • Posted 10/2/15 at 4:26 PM
  • Candy

Tori Spelling Uses the Excuse of a Lie-Detector Test to Basically Brag About Banging Two Guys on Beverly Hills, 90210

Never one to pass up an opportunity to trend on Twitter, Tori Spelling is starring in Celebrity Lie Detector this Saturday on Lifetime, which is set to coincide with the 26th anniversary of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Lifetime's airing of The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story. While attached to a lie detector, Tori Spelling admitted that she slept with then-boyfriend Brian Austin Green while she was on the show, but also claims to have slept with another one of her original cast members.


Oscar Futures: Does The Martian Have a Real Shot at Best Picture?

Every week between now and January 14, when the nominations are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes in this year's Oscar race. Check back every Friday for our Oscar Futures column, where we'll let you in on insider gossip, confer with other awards-season pundits, and track industry buzz to figure out who's up, who's down, and who's currently leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination.

  • Posted 10/2/15 at 3:50 PM
  • Candy

Tom Hiddleston Does His Robert De Niro Impression for Robert De Niro

Whew, what a charmer that Loki is. Tom Hiddleston joined Kenneth Branagh and The Intern co-stars Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro on The Graham Norton Show, which became an opportune moment for the host to ask Hiddleston to bring out his canon of impressions, which include Christopher Walken, Owen Wilson, and, of course, Robert De Niro. Not only does Hiddleston do De Niro, but he reenacts De Niro's coffee-shop scene across from Al Pacino in Michael Mann's Heat. This is definitely why the British are taking all our jobs.

Everything We Know About the New Ghostbusters

A potential third Ghostbusters film has been in the works practically since the second one wrapped. Despite its interminably long trip to the silver screen, the third movie is finally happening, featuring an all-new cast, and under the guidance of Paul Feig. Here’s everything we know.


Bill Withers’s Distinctly American Music Lives On, Perhaps More Than Ever, at Carnegie Hall

I recently finished reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, a masterful tome about the post-Reconstruction years between 1910 and 1970 when African-Americans living in the South migrated north and west to escape the cruelty of Jim Crow. The Great Migration is considered to be one of the most understudied migratory phenomenons in history, but Wilkerson, through painstaking research and magnetic prose, paints an impressively vivid picture of African-American life by using the stories and voices of the characters who experienced it firsthand. To my mind, the most profound aspect of Warmth is that by the end of its 622 pages, you don’t walk away thinking you’ve read an epic story specifically about black life, you walk away thinking you’ve read an epic story about American life, full stop. This is why the book is a work of genius, and this can also be said of the music of Bill Withers.  


Cannon Films: A 10-Part Appreciation of the Studio That Revolutionized ‘So Bad, It’s Good’ Movies

For fans of trashy, low-budget action films, Cannon Films defined the 1980s. The company was revitalized, after a decade-long rocky start, by director Menahem Golan and producer Yoram Globus, Israeli cousins now seen by many as the dollar-store precursor to the Weinstein brothers. As tasteless as they were unscrupulous, Golan and Globus are responsible for a flood of Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme films, not to mention cheapy ninja-sploitation films, eccentric art-house films (including Jean-Luc Godard's King Lear and John Cassavetes's Love Streams), and, uh, Lou Ferrigno as Hercules. This week, Warner Brothers collected a ten-film DVD/Blu-Ray box set to coincide with and bolster the release of Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, director Mark Hartley's funny, informative documentary. In the spirit of Hartley's inclusive doc, we present a list of the ten most Cannon-y moments included in the box set.



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