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  • Posted 8/22/14 at 5:30 PM
  • Movies

Sin City Creator Frank Miller on the Future of Comics and Collaborating With Robert Rodriguez

Comic-book iconoclast Frank Miller is his own best character. After his much-imitated, years-long run on Marvel Comics' Daredevil, he bullishly pushed the boundaries of how mainstream comics stories were told in milestone titles like The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, and 300. His heroes are similarly self-assured beyond mere arrogance: They're above reproach, a standard that Miller maintains as a rejection of psychological realism. His comics often take place in decadent cities. But even in his Sin City comics, Miller maintains an undiminished — albeit deranged — sense of optimism and romance. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Robert Rodriguez's new "translation" of Miller's hyper-violent neo-noir comics, Josh Brolin plays a sucker that pines for Eva Green's vicious (and frequently naked) femme fatale with a little help from killer friends Mickey Rourke and Rosario Dawson. Vulture talked to Miller about how he stays optimistic, what the future of comics looks like to him, and why he likes pissing off readers.

"We're living in a time where comics creators have more choices and options than before." »

Eva Green on Her Sin City Nude Scenes and Acting ‘200 Percent Evil’

"You cannot defeat the Goddess," says one character in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. "She cannot die." He's referring to Ava Lord, the seductive black widow who gives the film its title, and when she's played by Eva Green, who can blame him for using heavenly superlatives? There's always been something otherworldly about Green, who first impressed (and undressed) in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, won best Bond Girl ever honors with Casino Royale, and just this year starred as the formidable Artemesia in 300: Rise of an Empire and toplined the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, the slinky Green met up with Vulture at The Four Seasons to tell us how she got into character for the Robert Rodriguez–directed Sin City, and how she felt about getting out of her clothes for it.

"In the morning when you have a nude scene, you want to die." »

  • Posted 8/22/14 at 4:50 PM
  • Movies

At Midnight, James Franco Called Us to Talk About Porn

James Franco should be sleepy. It's after midnight, and he's just wrapped a long shoot on the indie Michael, where he stars as an ex-gay activist struggling with his sexuality. Most actors would spend their twilight hours heading to bed or studying the next day's script pages, but the idea of rest is almost anathema to a compulsive multitasker like Franco, who's instead taken that free time to call up Vulture to discuss pornography — specifically, the sadomasochistic kind.

Franco's latest project, Kink, is steeped in the subject. »

To Be Takei Lets Its Charming Subject Take Over

In recent years, George Takei, once known mainly as the guy who played Sulu on the original Star Trek in the '60s, has become a fixture on talk shows and just about everywhere else — partly because of his out-and-proud status as a gay American, and partly because of his willingness to speak about his family’s imprisonment in a World War II Japanese-American internment camp. He’s a great spokesman for these causes — funny, self-deprecating, earnest but not sanctimonious. But he also bridges an important gap: He can speak both to America’s sordid, bigoted past and to its fundamental capacity for goodness. He’s a man who was imprisoned by his country — literally, for his ethnicity, and figuratively, for his sexual orientation. And yet, here he is, persistent, happy, driven. The very picture of the country’s can-do spirit. 

Jennifer M. Kroot’s To Be Takei is the kind of documentary that’s smart enough to step back and let its charming subject take over. »

Let’s Rank the 2014 Pop-Star Movie Cameos

Turns out our pop stars aren't just content with acting in their music videos, they want something more. Like an appearance in an actual movie. For many of the musicians who briefly appeared in films this year, it wasn't their first time on the big screen. But are they getting any better? Do we have a Crossroads situation coming up? (Maybe.) Here's how 2014's attempts stacked up.

First, something that is not Taylor Swift’s fault. »

Is It Possible for Matthew Weiner to Be Matthew Weiner on the Big Screen?

Crazily uneven as it is, Matthew Weiner’s comic drama Are You Here should be seen on account of being … Matthew Weiner’s. Mad Men is among TV’s supreme dramatic achievements, and anything that illuminates its creator’s worldview — especially as we prepare for the final episodes — is helpful in putting the show in perspective. And the movie is very illuminating. It’s practically an essay on the counterculture, in how being an unruly outsider can liberate us from the meaninglessness of the capitalist grind — and yet also be a stage for self-destruction. It’s funny, clunky, earnest, and barely credible, but it’s all of a piece.

Owen Wilson is the Don Draper character, Steve Dallas. »

  • Posted 8/22/14 at 1:45 PM
  • Teaser

Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight Teaser Leaks

After a bunch of drama surrounding the leakage of The Hateful Eight script, it appears Quentin Tarantino is now moving full speed ahead with the project. A month ago we saw a poster, and now Tarantino has whipped up a teaser. It was only supposed to be released in theaters, playing before Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, but there was no way it wasn’t going to end up on the internet. So here it is. Though lacking in any actual footage, the teaser introduces each of the eight with some cool graphic action. Of course, the film doesn’t actually start shooting until early next year, so a lot could change by then. Maybe the movie will end up being titled The Hineful Nine. 

If I Stay Won’t Give You All the Feels

Advertising slogans shouldn’t really affect one’s critical judgment of a film. But full disclosure, seeing a brief online ad for If I Stay a couple of weeks ago asking if we were “ready for all the #feels” might have put me in the wrong mind-set for the movie. Based on Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel, If I Stay follows a young, promising teenage cellist, her whole life ahead of her, who winds up comatose after a horrific car accident. While Mia’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) body lies lifeless on a bed, a ghostly version of her haunts the corridors of the hospital, listens in on her loved ones, and reminisces about her life. On the surface, it seems perfect for our “feels”-obsessed culture — in which feelings are commodified and presented to us as bite-size, viral fixes, instead of things that come organically from within. “Come see a near-death teenager movie and get sad,” it seems to say, the way an Upworthy headline might tell me what I need to feel about something before I even know what the hell it is.

But here’s the thing: For much of its running time, If I Stay isn’t that movie. Until it is. »

  • Posted 8/22/14 at 11:00 AM
  • Memes

Which Celebrities Are at the Center of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become the actual Song of Summer. Everyone's either doing it, complaining about doing it, studying why it's so effective, or denying its effectiveness. Bottom line: The craze has earned a total of $41 million, says the ALSA, and a lot of that has to do with its trendiness. Trendy not only for all of your high-school Facebook friends, but also among celebrities, who can show they care while also giving us a peek into their world of famous friends. After collecting all of the celebrity ice bucket challenges we could spot across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. and YouTube (pity us, please!) and turning it into a giant web of Who's Who, we realized that a good chunk of these challenges begin or end with two major personalities: Taylor Swift (who has her cabal of young musicians and models) and Oprah (with her cabal of A-list directors and influencers). Curious who's connected to who? Here's what their webs look like.

A few notes on my process: »

When the Game Stands Tall Is Good at Football, Bad at Drama

As Joan Osborne might have put it: What if God was a high-school football coach? In this fact-based tale of the trials and tribulations of Northern California’s De La Salle Spartans football team, which had its historic 151-win streak suddenly and tragically interrupted in 2004, Jim Caviezel plays Bob Ladouceur, the coach of infinite patience, wisdom, and caring, who, despite having a heart attack, still managed to guide his emotional players to victory and maturity amid upheaval and self-doubt. “Winning a lot of games is doable,” he says early on. “Teaching kids there’s more to life, that’s hard.” How does he do it? He has team meetings where he encourages his kids to stand up and read out their “commitment cards,” in which they talk about what they want to achieve, both athletically and personally. He teaches religion classes, and asks his players to learn humility (De La Salle is a private Catholic academy.) He makes his players walk out onto the field holding hands, which freaks out opposing teams.

In other words, coach isn’t channeling Knute Rockne; he’s channeling a higher power. »

Tom Hardy Crashed This Wedding As Bane

If you had to have a Batman movie villain crash your wedding, you could do a lot worse than Bane. (Ugh, imagine Mr. Freeze saying, "What's duh matta, cold feet?" over and over.) Well, that's exactly what happened to one couple. Back when The Dark Knight Rises was shooting in Pittsburgh in 2011, they accidentally found their location overlapping with a wedding at a nearby church. Below you can see Bane waving at some bridesmaids. As a Redditor who was there explains, "It basically caused a lot of inconvenience for [bride and groom] and their guests as there were explosions and gunfire on the street during their wedding." To make up for this, the producers parked a Batmobile in front of the chapel and let the couple take pictures with it. Vulture also hears the couple decided to change their vows from "Do you take this woman to be your wife?" to "Do you take this woman to be your reckoning?" 

The Ugly Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Is the Best-Looking Revenge Porn Imaginable

In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, schlock director Robert Rodriguez and dark-souled graphic artist Frank Miller indulge in the crudest kind of nihilism, but they sure create some purty pictures. This movie, in black-and-white with judicious daubs of color, is the highest-gloss revenge porn imaginable. It’s hard to believe that so much visual elegance has been brought to bear on material so ugly, and yet the disjunction is intentional, and the film is all of a piece. Knowing that everyone will go rotten is meant to free you up to enjoy the spectacle of pinwheeling dismembered bodies and blood that splashes like an Abstract Expressionist’s oil paint. It’s one big, beautiful shit canvas.

Each of the three storylines is like Film Noir for Dummies. »

The Endlessly Adorable Chris Pratt Visited a Children’s Hospital Dressed As Star-Lord

The Month of Chris Pratt goes on (and on and on) as he continues to pile on the cute. Star-Lord visited the Children's' Hospital of Los Angeles, in full costume, to hang with the kids. But not all of them cared about Guardians of the Galaxy, reports E!: "Pratt spent extra time with one patient, Dylan Prunty, who is a longtime Lego fan and recognized the actor's voice from The Lego Movie. They spent about 10 minutes reciting different scenes from the film."

Harry Potter Director to Take On Spinoff

In March, word got out that a movie trilogy is going to be made out of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The project appears to be moving along nicely, as Variety reports that David Yates has agreed to take on the first installment. Yates is best known for doing a lovely job directing the last four Harry Potter movies, so this is kind of a no-brainer for the studio and Yates. That, or the producers put an imperius curse on him.

See the Trailer for The Conjuring Doll’s Spinoff Movie, Annabelle

Congratulation to Annabelle, the scary doll from The Conjuring, who was apparently scary enough that she got her own scary spinoff. Here's the rule with things that frighten: If they can scare once, they can scare again. Perfect for sequels!

  • Posted 8/21/14 at 1:30 PM
  • Movies

Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner Is in the Middle of a Very Emotional Moment

For seven years, Mad Men used to command an entire floor of L.A. Center Studios, but when I went there on Tuesday to interview Matt Weiner, that once-bustling second floor was now a ghostly, quiet place populated by four people: Weiner, his assistant, and two people heading toward the elevator with packed-up boxes and discarded desk chairs. Mementos from Mad Men could still be seen in places — the show's Sterling Cooper sign plate even graces the door to Weiner's office — but now that filming on the AMC advertising drama has wrapped and the final episode's early 2015 air date is set, Mad Men has been ceding its formidable floor space to a new era of television hopefuls. "The Tyra Banks pilot was just here," Weiner said with a grin, ushering me in.

How does he feel about Mad Men ending? "It started off in anger, I think." »

  • Posted 8/21/14 at 9:30 AM
  • Video

What’s Going On With Elisabeth Moss in This The One I Love Clip?

It's awfully hard to tell you the plot of The One I Love without spoiling its essential plot twist, but fortunately, this exclusive scene from the new romantic dramedy takes place even before the central characters have figured it out. Certainly, Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) know something is amiss: They've arrived at a country house at the behest of their couples therapist (Ted Danson), and suddenly, their humdrum habits seem to disappear with suspicious ease. They're kinder with each other, as flirty and playful as they were early on in their relationship. And hey, that's what this time away was meant to solve, anyway ... it's just that they have weirdly different recollections of how their first day at the house went, as you'll see in this clip. Can you make sense of what they can't? Put your theories to the test when The One I Love opens in theaters this weekend (or check it out on demand right now).

Outcast Trailer: Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen Go Medieval

Here's the trailer for Outcast, a period pic set in China starring Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen as ex-Crusades warriors who join forces to save the children of a deposed Chinese emperor from their evil uncle. Convoluted plot? Check. Nicolas Cage with a strange hairdo and an incomprehensible accent yelling things like "I am the White Ghost?" Check. Yep, this is definitely a Nic Cage movie.

Very Famous People to Lend Their Voices to New Jungle Book Movie

Yesterday, the news came out that Benedict Cumberbatch will be providing the voice of Shere Khan in the Andy Serkis–directed adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Today, the rest of the cast was announced and, boy, are two of these people famous. The Hollywood Reporter reports Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett will provide the voice of animals. No, Bale is not going to voice a bat, sillies. He’ll be Bagheera, a panther and the human protagonist Mowgli’s guide through all the jungle bookery. Cate Blanchett will voice Kaa, the python who in the Disney cartoon constantly tries and fails to eat Mowgli. Rohan Chand, who co-starred in Jason Bateman’s Bad Words, will voice Mowgli. Serkis will play Baloo. The cast will also include Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, and Peter Mullan. It doesn’t look like anyone will play orangutan Louie, which is a shame because “I Want to Be Like You” is everything.

The One I Love Is a Fairly Conventional Dark Comedy in the Guise of Mind-Bending Sci-Fi

Note: The first paragraph of this review discusses a twist revealed early on in the movie.

In the funny-strange sci-fi psychodrama The One I Love, Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss play a foundering couple, Ethan and Sophie, whose attempt to recover the happiness in their marriage takes them—on the advice of a therapist played by Ted Danson—to an isolated country estate where they meet … themselves. Or, rather, each of them meets someone who looks exactly like the other but is warmer and more attentive. Is it a dream? A shared psychosis? A portal to another dimension? (The couple ruminate on all these possibilities themselves.) The more urgent question is: What do you do when your mate is clearly falling for the person you were rather than the person you are?

Moss takes the film to a higher, scarier level. »