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9 Things Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and Your Other Female Faves Said at Sundance

Yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival, four of the funniest women in Hollywood — Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Kristen Wiig, and Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan — got together for a panel moderated by The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum. You may have already heard about the panel, since Dunham's jab at Woody Allen made the news once more, but focusing on that brief comment would do a disservice to all the other interesting things said onstage (not to mention all the good jokes). Here are nine other things we learned when these women had the spotlight.

Movie studios still don't know what to do with female writers. »

Sundance: You’ll Never Guess Who Jack Black Just Hooked Up With

The Sundance of Sex continued last night with Jack Black's new comedy The D Train, and before I go any further, be aware that the movie's central hookup could constitute a spoiler. It's the sort of surprising sex scene that the trailer might leave out (for several reasons), but then again, it's such a gotta-talk-about-it jolt that you'll likely hear about what goes down long before the movie makes its way to the multiplex. More important, it's a genuinely interesting twist that distinguishes The D Train from the movie you first think it's going to be.


Sundance: (Very) Early Oscar Buzz for Jason Segel’s Portrayal of David Foster Wallace

Sundance is always good for some infuriatingly early — as in 12 months early — awards predictions (though the hive mind wasn’t wrong about Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons or Damien Chazelle last year). But no one was expecting Jason Segel to be the first actor at this year’s Sundance to be Twitter-nominated as a 2016 Oscar contender before we even know who the 2015 Oscar winners are.


Kevin Costner’s New Moves: The Actor on Stepping Into Racial Politics With Black or White

Kevin Costner sidles into a West Hollywood hotel room at precisely noon. After making about 50 films and winning two Oscars (for Dances With Wolves, the movie he directed and produced a quarter-century ago), he knows when he’s on the clock. He gives every appearance of being the Joe Regular you expect, the Western-movie star of his era. Sun-bronzed, rugged face, camel-color Levi’s, cowboy boots. He supposes they’re Lucchese. “You’d have to ask my wife,” he says. “She bought them. The only thing I know about clothes is how to put them on.” 

“Broken people say awful things and do incredibly absurd things.” »

The Sundance Sexfest Continues With Adam Scott and Jason Schwartzman’s Naked Dance Party

This year's Sundance Film Festival is barely 24 hours old, but hot on the heels of yesterday's eye-poppingly gymnastic sex scene in The Bronze, it seems we've got another R-rated romp to contend with. Earlier today, Adam Scott and Jason Schwartzman brought their new movie The Overnight to Sundance, and while I'm about to describe the plot to you using entire paragraphs, rest assured that it has already been reduced to a single, oft-repeated sentence: "Oh, is that the movie where Scott and Schwartzman go full frontal?"


Julia Roberts Is Making a Batkid Movie????????????

Today in "Huh" news, Deadline reports that Julia Roberts is set to produce and star in a movie about Batkid, the 5-year-old cancer survivor who thrilled both Barack Obama and Ted Cruz, among others, in November 2013. Officially, Roberts's film will be an adaptation of the documentary Batkid Begins; her role in it is unknown. The movie will likely cost more than the $105,000 that San Francisco spent on Batkid, but no matter the price, it will undoubtedly provide innumerable opportunities to leverage the brand of Batman, a DC Comics property.

Ryan Guzman on The Boy Next Door and Why There Is So Much Talk of Cookies

There’s a chance you’re already familiar with Ryan Guzman. He played the one man who came close to breaking up Ezra and Aria on Pretty Little Liars and the only guy to lead more than one Step Up movie, but this weekend he’s introducing himself to the world in a whole new light. As the titular Boy in The Boy Next Door, Guzman answers whether looks can kill, terrorizing Jennifer Lopez after she regrets their romantic evening together. With the film coming out today, Vulture spoke with Guzman about his special skills, hurting Kristin Chenoweth, and Jennifer Lopez’s cookies.


Netflix Gets Duplass Brothers to Create 4 Very Mumbly Feature Films

In one of the few things in common they have with Adam Sandler, the Duplass brothers today signed a contract with Netflix to provide the streaming service with four original feature films. The deal went down at Sundance, which is fitting symbolism all around. Just like in Amazon's own just-announced film plan, the Duplass movies will have a brief theatrical window before debuting on Netflix. To make all these movies and still have time for Togetherness, the brothers will farm some of the work out to their slightly more attractive doppelgängers.

It Follows Trailer: How to Make STDs Even Scarier

Like a really good, really terrifying after-school special, It Follows seems like it could scare you straight. (Or at least celibate.) From David Robert Mitchell, the guy who brought you 2010's The Myth of the American Sleepover, this seems like one of those horror movies worth seeking out. Or maybe it'll find you. 

Submarine Thriller Black Sea Is a Rattling Good Ride

Excellent submarine thrillers like Black Sea get much of their visceral oomph from making it seem as if the camera operator — standing in for us — is just as constrained as the characters. Now he’s trudging along narrow corridors, now staring up from below (his head on the steel floor) or down from above (his backside bumping the ceiling), never in a place where he can give us a long view or wide vista. From the camera’s tight vantage you can smell the sour, dead air and the reek of unhygienic men whose fight-or-flight instincts are constantly engaged — because confinement at skull-crushing depths can make you desperate to get out.

Black Sea adds yet more reasons to fight or fly: irrational greed borne of economic desperation. »

Did You Root for the Americans During the ‘Miracle on Ice’? Red Army Will Make You Sympathize With the Other Side

Even some of us non-hockey fans find the story of the “Miracle on Ice” deeply moving. We've certainly heard it recounted many, many times — how a scrappy, underdog U.S. team made up of amateurs and college kids defeated the seeming indestructible Soviets at the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980, injecting a much-needed dose of pride to a beaten-down American public and helping popularize hockey overnight. (The event was valorized memorably in the misty Kurt Russell movie Miracle.) Gabe Polsky's ingenious, touching documentary Red Army looks at the other side of this myth, the seemingly faceless, allegedly robotic players who made up the Soviet team. There, Polsky finds a story even more epic and powerful than the Miracle on Ice.

The film covers the whole swath of Soviet hockey in the 20th century. »

  • Posted 1/23/15 at 12:50 PM
  • Video

Rihanna Makes Everything Better in This Exclusive Clip From Girlhood

It's mere coincidence that Céline Sciamma's acclaimed Girlhood has a title that invites comparison to Richard Linklater's Oscar front-runner Boyhood, but beyond the distaff focus of Sciamma's film, Girlhood tells a very different coming-of-age tale. The film follows young Marieme, a black teenager growing up in the projects around Paris, as she becomes entranced with a much tougher girl gang. At first, Marieme is timid around her new friends, but when they pool their stolen earnings and rent a hotel room, dancing to Rihanna's "Diamonds" in a pivotal sequence (which Vulture can debut exclusively), all that external pressure finally melts away. After a gangbusters debut at Cannes, Girlhood will play this week at Sundance before opening in New York on January 30.

The Boy Next Door Inadvertently Teaches Us About the Magic of the ‘Dick Tie’

Cosmopolitan asked The Boy Next Door's titular "Boy," Ryan Guzman, about his J.Lo sex scene, and at one point, Guzman mentions that while J.Lo got "all these cool gadgets" to keep things professional during their sex scene, all he got was a sock and a "dick tie." Hold up, what's a dick tie? "I can't believe I'm describing this. But it's this elastic thing on this sock where you make it as tight as you can so that you get no blood flow or anything going on, and it kind of holds on to your man parts so the sock isn't, you know, pulled off during the scene." That's right: a device that blocks the blood to the penis from getting "involved" in a very nonsexual sex scene. A true Hollywood marvel. Thank you, Ryan Guzman, for lifting this important curtain. 

Quiz: Has Gwyneth Paltrow Romanced This Co-star in Real Life?

There's nothing more fun than speculating on celebrity relationships, right? And we'll assume that dating your co-stars is pretty fun, too (not to mention convenient!). Paired along Johnny Depp in Mortdecai, Gwyneth Paltrow has been the subject of many a speculation — maybe because she's had some really famous boyfriends! This is celebrity. Can you guess which co-stars she actually dated (via gossip and the internet, so take everything with a grain of Goop-approved salt) and which ones she just dated on-camera? 

The 6 Kinds of Dresses Jennifer Lopez Wears

Let no one ever accuse Jennifer Lopez of being a boring dresser. She sings and dances, sure, and she judges Idol, and she stars in often-crummy movies — but she holds our interest like few others can, thanks in part to her distinctive style. Her red-carpet looks fall into six basic categories: black and sleek, long and shiny, short and shiny, bold and bright, whites and neutrals … and tragic disasters. Journey with us through some of the highs and lows in each of these categories.

  • Posted 1/23/15 at 11:30 AM

It’s Rare to Find an Animated Film That Bounces Around As Weirdly As Strange Magic

Strange Magic isn’t very magical, but it sure is strange. So many of today’s kids’ films, both good and bad, wear their inspirations on their sleeves. You can reenact the pitch meetings as you watch the movie, imagining what precise formula of previous hits mashed together gave rise to it. (Last year’s The Lego Movie brilliantly mocked such derivativeness, even as it shamelessly indulged in it.) But it’s rare to find a film that bounces around so weirdly, so uncomfortably between influences and subgenres as Strange Magic does. Then again, it was co-written and executive-produced by George Lucas, a man who both dreams big and borrows big. And here, he borrows relentlessly from modern pop (the film is filled with new versions of hit songs), Shakespeare, Disney, Pixar, James Cameron, and himself. You can sense his constantly grasping mind behind the movie — in the way it appropriates disparate elements of both high and low culture to create something … well, not new, exactly, and certainly not original, but definitely, um, insistent.

The film opens with a map unfolding to set the stage for its fantasy world. »

  • Posted 1/23/15 at 10:20 AM
  • Memes

What the Actress Who Played Jan Thinks of Her Brady Bunch Movie Meme

If you're not clued in, the month of January has truly been about Jan ... Jan Brady, that is, as seen in The Brady Bunch Movie and its sequel, A Very Brady Sequel. Played by actress Jennifer Elise Cox with a perfectly demented twist, Jan 2.0 is a psychotic play on middle-child syndrome. No surprise, 20 years later thanks to the teens and Netflix, she's been turned into a meme. (If this is the first you're hearing about this, read up!) Naturally, we had to chat with Cox (who stars in the "very Jan Brady" film Out West this year) about the meme she's helped inspire, playing the middle Brady child, and what it's like to have teenagers tweet "Sure, Jan" at you en masse. 


Jennifer Aniston Goes Drab in This Deflated Cake

In Cake, Jennifer Aniston gets seriously unglamorous as Claire, a mouthy, druggy, non-practicing lawyer with a mysteriously scarred face who’s driven around Los Angeles by her Mexican housekeeper, Silvana (Adriana Barraza) — her Sancho Panza — with her seat tilted all the way back to give her only a view of trees and sky. Her morbid bluntness gets her bounced from a touchy-feely women’s therapy group; and her fascination with Nina, a group member who threw herself off a highway overpass, gets her haunted by Nina’s hostile ghost (Anna Kendrick). Said ghost becomes even more antagonistic when Claire shows up at the doorstep of Nina’s grieving, hunky spouse (Sam Worthington) and curly haired 5-year-old (Evan O’Toole), as if trying to replace what she lost — and also be a replacement. There are broad hints about the nature of the tragedy that deformed Claire’s body and soul, but it’s late in the film before the full picture emerges. It’s a really grim one.

Actually, the whole movie is grim — drearily so. »

It’s Great Johnny Depp Seems to Be Having So Much Fun in Mortdecai Because No One Else Will

Having combed Roget’s Thesaurus in vain for a suitable adjective to describe the Johnny Depp comedy Mortdecai, I’m forced to say it’s just ... bad. The direction by David Koepp is bad, the screenplay by Eric Aronson very bad — though if Aronson were a bubbly American 15-year-old attempting a British caper-comedy after thrilling to a lot of old movies (which is how the script plays), I’d tell him it wasn’t too bad because puberty is difficult enough. Depp is very, very bad. Watching his first scene, a bad echo of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I thought he’d finally moved from emulating late (insane) Brando to late, slumming Peter Sellers and would spend the rest of movie swapping out wigs and accents. It quickly became clear that his bad, gap-toothed Terry-Thomas imitation (with extra eyebrow action) would be all she wrote. The badness settled over the audience like nuclear ash.

Thumbing through my notes, I find phrases like, “bad Wes Anderson dollhouse exteriors.” »

What Would Captain America Think of Sebastian Stan’s Crazy Sundance Sex Scene?

This year is proving to be an awfully horny cinematic one right off the bat, with all sorts of acrobatic sex scenes in store for audiences well before spring arrives to send us into full-tilt twitterpation. This weekend, for example, Jennifer Lopez is banged out by the world's oldest teenager in The Boy Next Door; that should satiate frisky audiences until Valentine's Day, when lips are bitten and backs are arched in the S&M fantasy Fifty Shades of Grey. Fittingly, this year's Sundance Film Festival is just as aroused, with seemingly every movie teasing an outrageous sex scene that will have everyone talking. They'll be hard-pressed to outdo The Bronze, though.

Sebastian Stan got very acrobatic (and very nude). »