buzz

Everything Book Lovers Need to Know About Amazon vs. Hachette

Earlier this week, Amazon unveiled its latest tactic in the mega-company’s battle with Hachette, a dispute that’s become as much about PR as profit margins: transparency. A brief “update” outlines exactly how much of the proceeds from e-books Amazon wants (30 percent) and how much Amazon wants to charge for those e-books ($9.99). There are also Economics 101 buzzwords like “price-elastic” and internal numbers that claim lower e-book prices actually result in higher revenue for everyone. There is, of course, another side to this story — and a months-long dispute that won’t end because Amazon named names. Here’s the rundown on what the average book buyer needs to know. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in August

Hello there, moviegoers, and hasn’t this summer been a bit of a slog? The appropriately overcooked and instantly forgettable The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dropped only in May, but it’s seemed like an eternity since we were giggling at Electrified Jamie Foxx™; now it’s August, and the fall — aka “good movie season” — is just around the corner. Though this month offers little to look forward to from the studios (another Step Up, another Expendables, a Twister rip-off, and God help us, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot), here are some four-star indies to get you through to September. … Read More

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New Showtime Doc Is a Geeks-Only Backstage Pass to David Bowie’s Most Creative Years

Outside of ’60s monoliths The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it seems likely that no musical career has been as comprehensively recorded on film as David Bowie’s. Documentary filmmakers have caught him at highs (D.A. Pennebaker’s classic Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars) and lows (Alan Yentob’s 1974 BBC project, Cracked Actor, a painfully raw account of Bowie’s LA-coke-hell period); Todd Haynes blew him a glittery kiss in 1998, with the glam-rock fantasy Velvet Goldmine; and Bowie’s own acting roles, such as his portrayal of an alien in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, have often felt like an extension of his musical persona. And those are only a few of the best-known examples of cinema’s obsession with David Bowie, a man whose IMDb page boasts no fewer than 153 “as himself” credits. … Read More

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10 TV Events to Look Out For in August

We’re so close to the beginning of the fall 2014 television season! Come September, we’ll have more TV shows than we know what to do with. But to tide us over, August is providing us with plenty of season and series premieres. Here are the ten TV events to watch this month, including another full series from Netflix, an underrated comedy on Pivot, and Starz’s take on Outlander. … Read More

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Marvel’s Third-Act Problem

From its opening credit sequence, which finds Chris Pratt boogeying through an alien landscape to the strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Guardians of the Galaxy seems the perfect antidote to Serious Summer Blockbuster Syndrome, a blissfully goofy and tartly self-aware slab of sci-fi silliness. Writer/director James Gunn is another of Marvel’s unconventional hires — his pitch-black 2010 comedy Super features Rainn Wilson as a mentally unbalanced would-be superhero who attacks people with a hammer while shouting “Shut up, crime!” — and for much of Guardians’ 122 minutes, Gunn’s grab-bag of quirky characters, genre ribbing, and incongruent ‘70s pop tunes goes over like gangbusters. The trouble is, it’s only irreverent to a point, and when the time comes to wrap things up, Gunn plays it strictly by the book. And this is becoming a real problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. … Read More

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“I’m a Fan of All Abortion Movies!”: John Waters Interviews Isabelle Huppert at Lincoln Center

If I asked you to guess John Waters’ favorite actress, you’d probably come up with some obscure B-movie diva or tough-as-nails Old Hollywood broad. But you’d be wrong. As the crowd at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater learned last night, Waters is fully in awe of Isabelle Huppert, the brilliant French actress who’s known for her limit-pushing collaborations with Europe’s most challenging directors, from Michael Haneke to Claude Chabrol to Claire Denis. … Read More

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10 Great Directors and the Composers They Couldn’t Live Without

The Criterion Collection’s must-have box set of the month is The Essential Jacques Demy, but that title may not be entirely accurate — it’s also, in many ways, the Essential Michel Legrand, since all but one of the set’s six films (the weakest one, natch) were made by the French filmmaker in partnership with musical legend Legrand. And Demy and Legrand’s frequent collaborations are far from unusual; throughout Hollywood’s history, distinctive filmmakers have paired with composers who were well matched to their style, and been loathe to work without them. Here are a few of cinema’s most memorable director/composer partnerships: … Read More

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Is Jeff Mangum Exploiting Neutral Milk Hotel Fans’ Memories?

If a significant number of people love anything enough, there will be a backlash against it. Perhaps that’s always been true, but it’s especially true in 2014, when unpopular opinions are practically a currency unto themselves. And so the backlash has come for Jeff Mangum and his somewhat-recently-reunited Neutral Milk Hotel, perhaps the most beloved indie band of the late ’90s. … Read More

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Stylishly Striking Portraits From 1980s Italian Goth Clubs

When you think of the Mediterranean, you tend to think of olive groves and sunny beaches, but for whatever reason, various South European countries have always had an affinity for darker shades of rock ‘n’ roll, perhaps reflecting the cultural affinity in these countries for surprisingly dark music. (Greek rebetiko, for instance, is some of the most gloriously depressing stuff you’ll ever hear.) With that in mind, it’s fascinating to look at these photos of people from the Italian “dark movement” of the early 1980s. The images — taken by Italian photographer Dino Ignani — surfaced on Dangerous Minds this week, and they capture an era of spectacular makeup and even more spectacular hair. You can just imagine these people at a dark basement club, standing perfectly still and listening to The Dome or something similar. Excellent. … Read More

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OKCupid Founder Says Experimenting on Users Is Just “How Websites Work” — But It Doesn’t Have to Be

OKCupid published a pretty fascinating post on its OKTrends blog yesterday. The piece was written by the company’s implausibly monikered co-founder Christian Rudder, and it discussed the recent publicity around Facebook’s grand experiment in influencing the moods of its users by examining how they react to having their news feed filled with largely positive or negative posts. Under the title “We Experiment on Human Beings!,” Rudder wrote that OKCupid had conducted similar studies, including a case in which they provided false matching data to evaluate how important providing users with this information is in their decisions about whether or not to contact (and also maintain conversation) with another user. This was no different, Rudder argued, from what Facebook did, and no different from what a bazillion other sites are constantly doing on an ongoing basis. … Read More

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