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The Edward Snowden Documentary Citizenfour Puts You Right in the Room As History Is Made

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that Laura Poitras’s "Meet Edward Snowden" documentary Citizenfour was an avant-garde paranoid conspiracy thriller. Hold on, it is an avant-garde paranoid conspiracy thriller. It opens with a blurry tunnel; winking monitors scrolling metadata plucked from Americans’ emails; images of huge, futuristic, otherworldy government surveillance centers; encrypted communications — flurries of characters — that resolve into edgy cyberdialogues between the National Security Agency whistleblower and the filmmaker; and, finally, exacting exchanges between Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald high up in a blankly modern Hong Kong hotel, which might or might not be bugged. The music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is like malignantly buzzing wires that eat into your cerebral cortex.

The narrative is relatively straightforward. »

Key and Peele Are Finally Making a Movie

Deadline reports Key and Peele are finally making a movie. No, it's not the Judd Apatow–produced one we told you about or their Police Academy reboot; it's called Keanu. Key and Peele play friends who pretend to be drug dealers to get back a stolen cat (the cat is named Keanu). Jordan Peele wrote the script with Community writer Alex Rubens, and Key & Peele director Peter Atencio is in talks to direct. The film is scheduled to shoot by April. No word on a projected release date. Also, no word if the villain will be played by Jaleel White Urkel.

9 Long Movie Tracking Shots

Through long takes and immersive tracking shots, films and TV shows like Goodfellas, Boogie Nights, and True Detective have given viewers the impression that they're watching drama as it unfolds in real time. Birdman continues in this tradition, immersing viewers in the tortured headspace of Michael Keaton's emotionally disturbed, has-been actor through one seemingly uncut two-hour shot. It’s the latest triumph for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who pulled off last year’s 12-minute opening shot in Gravity and several memorable long takes in Children of Men. But Birdman’s Alejandro González Iñárritu isn’t the first filmmaker to attempt a feature-length tracking shot/long take, nor is he the first director to include several invisible cuts that divide his film's action into multiple smaller takes. Here are nine other very long movie shots.

Brian De Palma's longest tracking shot immerses viewers in manic fight-night energy. »

  • Posted 10/20/14 at 1:15 PM
  • Movies

Here’s Our First Look at Disney’s Polynesian Princess Movie, Moana

Before today, observers knew only two things about Disney's upcoming Moana. One, that it would be about the adventures of a Polynesian princess sailing the Pacific; and two, that it wasn't coming out until 2018. Turns out only one of those things was correct! While sharing the first official image of Moana, who's only the fifth Disney princess not to be a white girl, the studio also announced the film was coming in 2016, much earlier than expected. You have two years to bone up on your navigational knowledge. (It's okay if you just play The Wind Waker.)

Ryan Phillippe on His Own Movies: ‘5 of Them Are Good’

The L.A. Times profiled Ryan Phillippe, with the actor's directorial debut Catch Hell out in theaters and VOD. Why did he write and direct a movie for himself? Self-awareness. “I’ve made 30-plus films over 20 years,” he told the reporter. “And in my opinion, five of them are good." He doesn't name which five. Is he including Crash? Does Cruel Intentions lose or gain points because of Reese Witherspoon? He's probably including Gosford Park, because he got to work with Robert Altman, and MacGruber, because he got to put celery in his butt. But that's only four. Which is the fifth?

Lynda Carter on What She Wants From the New Wonder Woman

Everyone is amped about the fact that a stand-alone Wonder Woman movie will finally hit theaters. Vulture caught up with original WW Lynda Carter at Thursday night’s God's Love We Deliver 2014 Golden Heart Awards at 50 Varick Street, where Carter shared her true feelings about the character that made her a star.

She’s complicated," Carter said. »

  • Posted 10/20/14 at 10:45 AM
  • Movies

Pippin Will Sing Again, This Time Over the End Credits of the Final Hobbit Movie

Remember how much you liked it when Pippin sang in Return of the King? That can't even compare to how much Peter Jackson liked it. First the director used ROTK's "Edge of Night" in the teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and now he's brought back actor Billy Boyd to sing a new song, "The Last Goodbye," over the end credits of the final Hobbit movie. Boyd apparently wrote the song alongside Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, which means the road to Billy Boyd, EGOT winner, begins today.

A My Little Pony Movie Is Really Happening

Variety reports Hasbro Studios is moving forward with a My Little Pony movie. The film, which will be written by Joe Ballarini, is scheduled for a 2017 release. As toys, My Little Ponies were first introduced in 1983. Since, they've gone through many incarnations on TV and direct-to-video movies; most recently, they can be seen in the very popular My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series. Though 2013's My Little Pony: Equestria Girls and 2014's Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks had very limited theatrical runs, this upcoming feature would be the franchise's first wide release. So if you see a bearded man crying while wearing a colorful wig with a horn sticking out of it, you'll know.

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in The New Yorker

Noted typewriter enthusiast (and actor) Tom Hanks has a short story, "Alan Bean Plus Four," in The New Yorker this week. It's got selfies, a guy named MDash who "shortened his long tribal name to rap-star length," and references to Apollo 13, apps, and selfies: "We took hundreds of selfies with the Earth in the window and, plinking a Ping-Pong ball off the center seat, played a tableless table-tennis tournament ..." All in all, it's short, sweet, and pretty much perfect. (They've even included a recording of Hanks reading his piece aloud.) The only thing that could make this better would be an accompanying photo of Hanks click-clacking away at his typewriter. Maybe it's finally time for Larry Crowne 2?

Seth Rogen Sings ‘Poison’ With Bell Biv DeVoe; Fulfills Lifelong Dream

"One day I'm going to sing with those guys," an 8-year-old Seth Rogen whispered to himself 24 years ago in his quiet suburban Canadian house after seeing the video for Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" on Much Music. This weekend, that dream came to fruition at the third annual Hilarity for Charity event he hosted with his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen. After performances from the likes of Sarah Silverman, Weird Al, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (covering No Doubt’s "I’m Just a Girl"), Bell Biv DeVoe came onstage to do what they do. They event raised over $900,000 for Alzheimer's research. Great! As BBD sings in the song's first verse, "Let's cure it 'cause we're running out of time."

Brad Pitt’s Fury Beats Gone Girl Over a Weak Box-Office Weekend

In a tepid weekend for the box office, Brad Pitt's World War II epic, Fury, claimed the top spot with $23.5 million, beating back Gone Girl, which brought in $17.8 million for a domestic total of $107 million. Other new releases also had lackluster performances, with the animated The Book of Life bringing in $17 million for third and the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me barely coming in fifth with $10.2 million. Steve Carell's family comedy, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, stuck around in fourth with $12 million. 


Dear White People Is One of the Best Feature-Filmmaking Debuts in Recent Years

Justin Simien’s Dear White People positions itself as a skewering of racial attitudes among students and faculty at a prestigious university, but, at heart, it’s a touching, even earnest story about acceptance — or, rather, our longing for said acceptance. That the film’s satire isn’t contradicted by its sincerity is certainly a testament to the talents of this young director and his impeccable cast. But it also maybe says something about our own racial moment. The film is called Dear White People, but it might as well be called Dear Everybody. It’s hilarious, and just about everyone will wince with recognition at some point in the film.

It opens with news of a "race war" ... »

Kristen Stewart’s Tense Acting Style Serves Her Well As a Gitmo Guard in Camp X-Ray

Peter Sattler’s Camp X-Ray starts off with images of 9/11, followed by scenes of a Muslim man being captured at home and whisked off to Guantánamo Bay. But the film is not nearly as grandiose and politically minded as that suggests. It’s really a chamber piece between two people. Almost literally so: Most of the movie is set in a small, nondescript cement holding area at Gitmo lined with a few bolted doors. The place doesn’t even look like a prison. It looks more like an empty hospital waiting room. Or, more appropriately, a psych ward.

Is Ali himself a good guy? At first, the film is non-committal. »

Oscar Futures: How Many Nominations Can Birdman Fly Away With?

Every week between now and January 15, 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, when 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.

If You’re Going to Do Nicholas Sparks Melodrama, The Best of Me, at Least Do It Right

As presented in the opening scenes of the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me, Dawson Cole, the film’s male protagonist, is the Nicholas Sparks–iest character you could imagine. Played as an adult by James Marsden, Dawson works on an oil rig, reads Stephen Hawking books in his spare time, sends cash money home in an envelope, and looks up at the stars at night; he’s a soulful, strapping, wandering, working-class romantic. And of course, he has a soul mate: The beautiful Amanda (played as an adult by the great Michelle Monaghan), now a wife and mother who also likes to look up at the stars, especially as an escape from her raging finance-bro hemorrhoid of a husband (Sebastian Arcelus).


Listen Up Philip Asks, How Long Can You Watch a Terrible Person For?

Writer-director Alex Ross Perry raises fascinating aesthetic questions in his third feature, Listen Up Philip. Can we identify with an asshole so flaming that nearly every word out of his mouth burns yet another bridge to the human race? More important: Can we even watch him for longer than a few minutes?


  • Posted 10/17/14 at 1:20 PM
  • Video

Watch Elisabeth Moss Very Firmly Hand Jason Schwartzman His Ass

The New York Times just named Elisabeth Moss "one of the most exciting actresses in American movies," and you can see the Mad Men star's cinematic talents on display in this exclusive clip from Alex Ross Perry's new movie Listen Up Philip, out today. Moss stars in the film alongside Jason Schwartzman, and he's playing the film's putative protagonist, a dyspeptic novelist who spends most of his time upbraiding the people in his life who can't possibly measure up to his high standards. But once Schwartzman retires to the country to pursue his muse, leaving his girlfriend (Moss) behind in Brooklyn, the film takes on her perspective as she blossoms on her own. Eventually, Schwartzman returns, still expecting to rule the roost. As you'll see in this clip — featuring Moss, Schwartzman, and one cantankerous cat — things do not go as planned.

11 Great Michael Keaton Roles

Hollywood loves a comeback story, and this one couldn’t be any sweeter. With the much-anticipated release of Birdman this weekend, Michael Keaton is back on top. One of Hollywood's biggest draws in the 1980s, he seemed to be able to do it all. His work with Ron Howard showcased his biting comedic talents and quickly made him a leading man. Playing a crude ghost with the most and a legendary superhero for Tim Burton made him a worldwide superstar. But by the late ’90s, Keaton'sstar was on the decline, though he continued to work consistently. With around 80 roles under his belt, we look back on 11 that shine brightest.


Take the Brad Pitt Movie-Hair Quiz

This quiz originally ran on October 25, 2013. We are republishing it to correspond to the release of Fury this weekend. 

What happens when you take Macklemore's head and rattle it around a tank for a couple hours: does the hair stay in place? That's what Fury is looking to explore this weekend with Brad Pitt rocking a skin-short hair on the side with slicked back hair on the top look. It's a cut famously described as the "Hitler Youth" in a New York Times trend story from three years ago. But not only is the haircut time period appropriate, it's also appropriate considering Pitt's history of iconic movie hair. Over his 25-year career, he's mixed up his hairdos in ways big and small, both on his face and scalp. Take the Brad Pitt Hair Quiz and find out how well you remember all of his movie dos. You'll see just the hair and have to guess the movie. Luckily, right or wrong, you'll get to see that handsome mug of his. Good luck!

Director Justin Simien on Dear White People and Black Stories in Hollywood

Dear White People, which opens this weekend, is a movie that demands attention, and not just because of its provocative title. Writer/director Justin Simien, who started to work on the script in 2006, was able to make a movie that is both a compelling portrait of four unique black characters and a rich satire that fully captures the state of race and racism in post-Obama America. Vulture spoke with Simien about the evolution of the film, the honor and frustration of being compared to Spike Lee, Chappelle's Show, and how to fix the movie industry.

"Hollywood is a world where the only thing that gets green-lit is something that made money the last year." »