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Josh Boone Will Direct Stephen King's The Stand in a Four-Part Franchise

The Fault in our Stars director Josh Boone confirmed that yes, it's official. Warner Brothers is allowing him to turn what many consider to be Stephen King's greatest work (it's number one on our list!) — or "The Godfather of post-apocalyptic thrillers" — into not just one film, but four. During an appearance on Kevin Smith's podcast, Hollywood Babble-On, Boone explained that after turning in an epic script, the studio asked him if he would want to turn it into a franchise. Um, YES.

"I said 'fuck yes!'" »

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 6:20 PM
  • Movies

Channing Tatum Is Going to Direct His First Film

Channing Tatum is going to be a director! Or, at least, a co-director. He'll produce and direct a screen adaptation of the YA novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock alongside Reid Carolin, who's produced most of Tatum's recent movies. The book's about a high schooler who plans a murder-suicide; Tatum is set to play a teacher. If this goes well, we hear Tatum will then try his hand at cinematography in Magic Hour Mike.

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 5:50 PM
  • Movies

Movie Review: Happy Valley Shows the Horrific Aftermath of the Sandusky Scandal

An acquaintance told me that he was at a premiere last week of Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary Happy Valley in State College, Pennsylvania, the setting for the story of serial sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, godlike coach and patriarch Joe Paterno, and the institution that allegedly looked the other way, and that the screening was “intense.” After seeing the film, I think it’s a wonder that the crowd didn’t rush the filmmakers. The really incendiary part is not the first half, which recounts the accusations against assistant coach Sandusky, the firing of Paterno (and the college’s president), the huge rallies in support of the most revered figure in college football, Paterno’s swift death from cancer, and the ultimate conviction of Sandusky on 45 counts. It’s what comes after. It’s the militant mass cries to protect Paterno’s and the college’s name and “move on.” It’s the rage of a mob against the media, national college-football officials, and even — in some quarters — Sandusky’s victims for taking away what amounts to a religious ritual.


It’s Taken Decades, But the Surreal Animated Film The King and the Mockingbird Is Finally Here

In 1946, the French animator Paul Grimault and poet/screenwriter Jacques Prévert set out to make what they hoped would be the first French animated feature film, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Shepherdess and the Chimneysweep.” Prévert was already a legend, having written Le jour se lève and Children of Paradise for director Marcel Carné. Meanwhile, Grimault’s wonderfully iconoclastic fables had won favor both during and after the war. You wouldn’t think two such heavy-duty names would meet much resistance, but within a couple of years, Grimault and Prévert had lost control of the project, and an incomplete, 63-minute version was released without their approval in 1953. That also made its way to U.S. shores in a dubbed version as The Curious Case of Mr. Wonderbird.

A couple of decades later, the duo set out to complete the film. »

Hear Meryl Streep Belt ‘Stay With Me’ From Into the Woods

More promos from Into the Woods equals more singing. Good! They're certainly pushing Meryl Streep's turn as the Witch, whose "Stay With Me" is as moving as it is flattering to Streep's vocal range. The singing starts at 1:03; the despair is as good as it gets.

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 4:20 PM
  • Movies

YA Dystopian Films Have Become What They Hate

The Hunger Games continues to wend its way towards a conclusion with this weekend’s awkwardly titled The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. That a Part 2 arrives next year to wrap up the franchise is enough to render this installment in Katniss Everdeen’s uprising saga somewhat less than wholly consequential. Yet even more problematic for Part 1 is that it’s a thoroughly been-here, done-that type of entertainment. In just over a year, movie theaters have been besieged by six dystopian science-fiction films designed for young adults, all of them adapted from best-selling novels: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Ender’s Game, Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver, and now Mockingjay – Part 1. More depressing still is the fact that while these films can claim a distinct literary lineage, each one, in making the transition to the big screen, has been cut from a matching cloth, hewing to such a rigorous narrative, aesthetic, and casting template that they’ve become the very thing their stories so vehemently decry: conformist instruments of the ruling modern-Hollywood machine.

The stories themselves are fundamentally about generational warfare. »

How Beyond the Lights Takes From the Lives of Real Pop-Stars

Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie," writes Vulture's Bilge Ebiri. "For all its honesty, it’s never slow, and for all its criticism of the music industry, it’s never finger-wagging." It's true — writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood's movie manages to fully evoke our current moment of pop music without directly targeting any one real-life personality. But as you watch, it's difficult not to feel the strange feeling that you might have heard pieces of these stories before. Here are our guesses as to the movie's real-life influences.


Watch an Exclusive Clip of Benedict Cumberbatch Talk About Coming Out in The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is not just an opportunity for people to try to taste Benedict Cumberbatch at premieres — it is also a biopic of Alan Turing, the man who helped Britain break Germany's Enigma code during World War II before being persecuted for his homosexuality. Cumberbatch plays Turing, and he's joined by a long list of recognizable British faces, including Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, and Keira Knightley, who plays Turing's close friend Joan Clarke. In this exclusive clip from the film, Cumberbatch and Leech discuss the possibility of Turing coming out of the closet to Joan, and the harsh consequences he might face for doing so. The Imitation Game is out November 28.

Oscar Futures: Selma Wants Your Best Picture Vote

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.

21 Photos of Jennifer Lawrence Making Silly Faces in Fancy Dresses

Because of the nonstop somberness of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Jennifer Lawrence spends most of the film grimacing and scowling. But J.Law can and has made a wide array of faces. Some of them quite wonderful! Vulture is here to celebrate them all: smiles, frowns, and all the wackiness in between. 

The Iranian Vampire-Romance A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Is Old-School Americana With a Persian Twist

I can’t decide if Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is the most original film of the year, or the most familiar. A glance at the concept — a black-and-white Iranian feminist vampire Western romance, shot entirely in Farsi somewhere in Southern California — would suggest the former. And to be fair, it’s wonderfully inventive filmmaking: Amirpour’s striking compositions borrow from the iconography of both the Western and the horror film — wide, evocative vistas are intercut with dark, tense city streets where shadowy figures follow one another. But the director also draws playful connections between these genres and the symbols of modern Iran: Oil derricks spot the landscape, and the chador becomes an unlikely horror vestment. The whole movie exists in a netherworld that is impossible, but somehow also feels right.

The story Amirpour tells is full of familiar, perhaps even generic elements. »

Get Your Panem Name With Our Hunger Games Name Generator

When The Hunger Games movie came out in 2012, it ushered in the Era of Jennifer Lawrence and helped demonstrate how to turn a hugely popular, but often very dark, YA series into a well-received box-office hit. It also gave Vulture the opportunity to put together a Hunger Games Name Generator, on account of the franchise's offbeat, distinctive characters names. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -Part I opens this weekend, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring back the name generator — with new and improved names. If you don't like the name you get on your first try, keep clicking; it'll be different every time. May the odds be ever in your favor!

What Is Everyone Saying About The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1?

Almost every critic who's seen the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 so far has bristled at the fact that the movie only tells half the story of the third and final book in Suzanne Collins's saga. The consensus has been that this installment also offers significantly less action than its predecessors. That said, many writers still found space to compliment the film's performances, especially the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's, which the New York Times called "loose, funny and stingingly real." Rolling Stone labeled him one of the pic's "unalloyed joys." Our own David Edelstein applauded the movie's meta elements, noting, "Much of Mockingjay centers on selling. In the film, the rebels sell a revolutionary icon, Katniss in her Mockingjay wings clutching a bow and arrow. But it's hard not to think ... of how Lionsgate is madly selling our nation's No. 1, nobody-doesn't-love-her female movie star." Here's what everyone else is saying:

"The Hunger Games is declining in power, but not as steeply as I thought." »

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 2:30 AM
  • Movies

Penélope Cruz Joins Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2

Deadline reports that Penélope Cruz has hopped on the Zoolander 2 train and will star with Ben Stiller. Justin Theroux is attached to pen the script, and Stiller will perform double duties as the movie's director and non-ambiturner, ridiculously good-looking lead. Rumors that Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson will return as Mugatu and Hansel, respectively, have still not been confirmed, and there's no word on whether Cruz will be playing a super model. (But here's to hoping Cruz makes a Nespresso for Mugatu and something weird happens.) As Cinema Blend notes, Stiller has been teasing the follow-up for roughly a decade. No pressure, guys.

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 2:02 AM
  • Movies

Miley Cyrus Recorded a Cover for the Movie Free the Nipple

Variety reports that Miley Cyrus has recorded a cover of Melanie Safka's "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma" for Lina Esco's directorial debut, Free the Nipple. The movie, which rolls out in theaters and VOD on December 12, follows a coterie of women who protest censorship laws in the U.S. by going topless in New York City. ("Why is my nipple more obscene than a murder?" Good question.) Cyrus, one of the movement's most high-profile supporters, recorded the song last August for the film's closing credits. Esco described Cyrus's contribution as "very Johnny Cash. Her voice is so raw, and the song is so raw."

  • Posted 11/20/14 at 3:45 PM

Direction and Misdirection: An Appreciation of Mike Nichols, 1931–2014

If Mike Nichols ever produced anything as banal as a résumé, it would have looked highly suspicious, the humblebrag of a con man. He did too many things, they were too far-flung, and he was too successful at all of them. There was the career in sketch comedy with Elaine May, circa 1958 to 1962; they had three Top 40 albums and a Broadway hit and then broke up. Next came the switch to stage directing, which netted nine Tonys, from 1964 (Barefoot in the Park) to 2012 (Death of a Salesman). When he defected to Hollywood in 1966, it was cover-of-Newsweek news; soon he owned a local subspeciality, the superstar prestige pic, puppeteering everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Cher to (inevitably) Meryl into Oscar-bait performances. Was he also a classical-radio DJ? Yes. A Broadway producer? Yes. (He made a fortune on Annie.) An amateur wigmaster? Certainly — he lost all his hair in a freak childhood reaction to a whooping-cough vaccine. It goes without saying that he was an escape artist, and not just from the Nazis in 1938. He had two countries, three names, four wives, innumerable lives. Well, not quite innumerable; he died yesterday at 83. Or let’s say he reinvented himself again.

Has any aesthete ever worn his carnation so invisibly? »

Vincent Kartheiser Goes to Antarctica in This Gorgeous New Trailer

Last season on Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser's Pete moved to California, and in the new movie Red Knot, Kartheiser is going even further afield: This time, he's heading all the way to Antarctica. Kartheiser and Olivia Thirlby play a married couple who finally decide to take a late, most unusual honeymoon aboard a research vessel that's heading to Earth's southernmost continent, but along the way, things get almost as icy between them as the dramatic, gorgeous glaciers they pass and peer at. Since the trailer for the film (opening December 5 at New York's IFC Center) is debuting exclusively on Vulture, you, too, can gawk at those stunning visuals, though you may be equally enticed by the sight of Kartheiser as a normal, modern-day dude with a healthy hairline. Enjoy!

  • Posted 11/20/14 at 2:29 PM
  • Obit

Frank Rich Remembers Mike Nichols

In February 1965, Mike Nichols was a rising stage-director best known as half of the comedy team of Nichols & May, the riotous byproduct of his and Elaine May’s collision as early members of the pioneering Chicago improv troupe the Compass Players. He was 33 years old. I was a 15-year-old high-school student working as a part-time ticket-taker at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., then a busy Broadway tryout house in the day when new plays were tweaked or overhauled on the road rather than in previews in New York. The National’s new attraction was The Odd Couple, Neil Simon’s third Broadway play. It had a middling advance sale. The stars were Art Carney, whose luster had faded a bit since his heyday as Jackie Gleason’s sidekick on television’s The Honeymooners in the 1950s, and Walter Matthau, a longtime character actor whose career had never taken off.

Nichols’s staging of The Odd Couple is the single funniest production of anything I’ve ever seen in the theater. »

Steve McQueen Finds His 12 Years a Slave Follow-Up

Earlier in the week, The Guardian reported from the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Hidden Heroes awards that Steve McQueen announced his next project would be a biopic about singer/actor/civil-rights activist Paul Robeson. That doesn’t appear to be the case, however, as The Hollywood Reporter reports the Oscar-winning director will next direct an adaptation of the 1980s British TV series Widows. McQueen has been a big fan of the show since he saw it as a teenager. The series focused on three wives of armed robbers. After their husbands were killed in a heist, the women (along with a fourth recruit) use their husband’s old books and accounts of past robberies to pull off a raid themselves. McQueen’s version will be set Stateside, probably because most Americans can only picture British people stealing tea bags and digestive biscuits.

Pitch Perfect 2 Trailer: Plenty of Singing in This Aca-Sequel

It seems like everyone's back for the sequel to Pitch Perfect — even the "Cups," song, thank God. They've revamped it a little (fewer cups, more harmonies!), upped the stakes ("The World Championships of A Capella"), and added David Cross to the mix. Get ready for those mash-ups.